Figs are a soft, sweet fruit that many find delicious. They grow in a wide variety of climates and make the perfect choice for an alternative to home-grown apples. They can be difficult for a newcomer to learn how to spot when figs are ripe but with careful attention, the results are well worth the effort.
When to Pick Figs
It is essential to pick your figs at the right time, otherwise they will either be under ripened or over ripe, both of which will taste bad (although you can get away with them being a little over peak ripeness). Figs do not continue to ripen after being picked, like many other fruits do, so it is essential that they are not picked until they are definitely ripe.
Figs ripen from August onward in Northern climates; although closer to the equator you can find them ripening from around July, depending on the exact climate. Once they are ripe, it is best to harvest them in the morning, as the slightly cooler temperature helps to prevent the figs bruising when they are being picked.
How to Tell if a Fig is Ripe
Ripe figs are soft to the touch (but do note that a fig you can squash is over ripe) and will hang down from the branch. Figs also change colour but to tell when figs are ripe you must be aware of the type of figs you are growing; as different varieties turn different colours.
How to Pick Figs
Ripe figs are easy to pick because they are soft. Simply lift up the fig and carefully pull or cut the fig away from the stem. Try to keep as much of the stem attached to the fig as possible, as this helps to keep the figs fresh for longer.
Figs bruise easily, so try to handle them as little as possible during picking, and store them carefully to ensure the best quality and taste possible.
Storing Your Figs
Figs quickly deteriorate at room temperature, so be sure to store them in a cool place such as a refrigerator. Once picked, figs should be eaten within three days otherwise they will go off.
When storing your figs, do not stack them on top of one-another, as they bruise easily. Instead, arrange them in a bowl or on a wide plate, so they can all lie on the bottom of the container and not bunch up against one-another too much.
Figs, like bananas, will cause other fruits and vegetables to rot quickly. You should therefore store them separately from other fruits and vegetables. Placing the plate or bowl of figs inside a plastic bag will stop the fast-rotting effect.