Figs are a delicious and nutritious fruit that can be enjoyed in many ways. However, there’s a slight problem with figs. Figs are unique in that they ripen at the same time, so if you want to enjoy them throughout the year, you need to find a way to store them. The good news is, it’s easy to dehydrate figs. Dehydrating is the perfect solution, when you end up with an abundance of figs and want to preserve them before they go bad.
In this article, I’ll show you how to dehydrate figs, provide some tips for dehydrating figs, and also answer some common questions regarding how to dehydrate figs.
Perfect Ripeness for Dehydrating Figs
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The best figs for dehydration are the ones that are ripe but not overripe. You want them to be soft, but not so soft that they are mushy.
The best way to test for ripeness is to gently squeeze the fig. It should give a little to the pressure but still feel firm.
To dehydrate figs, you will need:
To dehydrate figs, you need the following:
- A food dehydrator
- Ripe figs
- Knife or mandolin
- Cutting board
When choosing a dehydrator, be sure to pick one that has a temperature gauge. I personally have and use this Nesco and this Cosori, both of which are available on Amazon. The photos you’ll see in this article are of the Cosori, but I also use my Nesco regularly, and you really can’t go wrong with either one.
Preparing figs for Dehydrating
In order to dehydrate figs, it is important to prepare them properly.
First, wash the figs well and remove the stems. You can then cut the figs into quarters, wedges, or thin slices before placing them on the dehydrator trays.
It is important not to overcrowd the trays, as this will impede the drying process.
Time and Temperature for Dehydrating Figs
When dehydrating figs, set the temperature on your dehydrator to 125 degrees Fahrenheit.
Generally speaking, it takes about 18 hours for figs to dehydrate completely, but the actual time depends on the moisture level in the figs, the size of the fig pieces, how closely you place the figs on your dehydrator trays, and on your specific dehydrator.
Below you can see how long it took for me to dehydrate figs, and the level of dryness at different times in the process.
Figs after 9 Hours in the Dehydrator
I first checked the figs after they had been in the dehydrator for nine hours. At this point, they were starting to dehydrate, but were still pretty soft and squishy. At this point, they had shrunk a bit in size, but not a whole lot.
Figs After 18 Hours in the Dehydrator
After 18 hours in the dehydrator, the quartered and halved figs were still very flexible and sticky. I forgot to check the sliced ones at that time, but they may have been completely dry after 18 hours.
Figs After 22 Hours in the Dehydrator
After 22 hours in the dehydrator, the sliced figs were completely dry, but the quartered figs were still flexible.
Since the sliced ones dried much better than the quartered ones, and, since they didn’t stick on the trays, I recommend slicing figs instead of quartering them when dehydrating. The only way I’d quarter them in the future is if I didn’t have enough room in my dehydrator to lay out the slices.
How to Test Dehydrated Figs for Dryness
Dried figs are a delicious and healthy snack, but only if they’re properly dehydrated. If they’re still too moist, they can harbor mold and bacteria, and you’ll end up having to toss them. On the other hand, if they’re too dry, they’ll be so hard they are difficult to chew.
So how can you tell if your figs are perfectly dried? Start by examining them closely. They should be firm and completely dry to the touch. If they’re still a little soft or sticky, they need more time in the dehydrator.
Once they’re fully dried, they should be leathery and a little flexible, but not sticky.
How to Store Dehydrated Figs
Before storing your dehydrated figs, make sure that the figs are completely dehydrated before storing them. If there is any moisture left in the fruit, it can cause the figs to mold or spoil. Use the tips above for determining dryness.
You can also “condition” the figs by putting them into a jar with a lid on them. Keep an eye on them for a few days to see if there are any signs of moisture, such as condensation on the jar. If you see moisture, or if the figs stick together and don’t come apart when you shake the jar, add the figs back into the dehydrator for a couple of hours to complete the dehydration process.
Second, store the dehydrated figs in an airtight container or mylar bag (available on Amzon). This will help to keep the figs fresh for a longer period of time.
Pro tip: Read this article Long Term Food Storage in Mylar Bags for tips on how to use mylar bags for storing food.
Finally, you can optionally use a vacuum sealer or oxygen absorbers (Amazon) to further extend the shelf life of the figs.
One thing to keep in mind when storing dehydrated figs is that over time, they may stick together due to the high sugar content. If this happens, simply add 1/4 cup granulated sugar per quart-sized jar and shake. This will help to keep the figs from sticking together and will also add a bit of sweetness.
Dehydrated figs are a great way to enjoy fresh fruit all year long. By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your dehydrated figs will last for a long time.
For more information on storing dried fruit, read my article, Dried Fruit Storage Tips.
How to Use Dehydrated Figs
Dehydrated figs make a great addition to smoothies, snacks, and more. Here are some ideas on how to use them
- Put in smoothies
- Eat as snacks, straight from the jar
- Rehydrate and make fig jam
- Rehydrate and make fig bars
FAQs about Dehydrating Figs
Q: What kind of figs are best for dehydrating?
A: Any type of fresh fig will work, but black mission and Kadota figs are especially good.
Q: Do I need to peel the figs before dehydrating them?
A: No, you don’t need to peel the figs. Just give them a good wash and cut off the stems and any bad spots.
Q: How long will dehydrated figs last?
A: Dehydrated figs will last for several months if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
Q: Can I dehydrate figs without a dehydrator?
A: Yes, you can dehydrate figs without a dehydrator. Just place them on a baking sheet and put them in an oven set to the lowest temperature possible. Check on them every few hours and remove them from the oven when they’re dry. However, since figs take a long time to dehydrate, and since ovens require more gas or electricity than dehydrators, I recommend picking up a dehydrator. You can pick up one inexpensively on Amazon. The main thing to keep in mind when purchasing a food dehydrator is to buy one with a temperature control. The ones without a temperature control run really hot, and aren’t the best for dehydrating fruit and vegetables.
Recommend Food Dehydrating Resource
If you’re looking for a good resource for dehydrating, I recommend the book, The Dehydrator Cookbook by Tammy Gangloff, which you can get on Amazon. I always refer to it when dehydrating something, especially if it’s the first time I’ve dehydrated it. For instance, when it was time to dehydrate figs, I opened up the book to the instructions for dehydrating figs and knew exactly what to do.
If you have a fig tree or have a neighbor, friend or family member with a fig tree, since figs ripen all at the same time, unless you preserve them, it’s near impossible to eat them all before they go bad. Dehydrating figs is a great way to preserve them and enjoy their flavor for months to come.
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