Tips and Step by Step Photos for How to Peel Figs

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As fig season approaches, it’s time to reveal the full potential of this ancient fruit. While the fig skin adds a delightful texture, sometimes you may want to remove it for certain recipes. In this article, we’ll explore the best ways to peel figs, providing step-by-step instructions accompanied by helpful photos. Whether you’re preparing a goat cheese salad with balsamic vinegar or fragrant appetizers such as our baked feta recipe with figs and honey, our guide on how to peel figs will ensure you achieve perfect results every time.

Related:  fig syrup recipe, how to freeze figs, fig cake recipe

Whole figs on a white cutting board.

What are Figs?

Figs are sweet delicate fruits known for their rich flavor and unique texture. The texture is jammy with crunchy bits in them which are the seeds. They contain natural sugars that give them their deliciously sweet taste. Figs grow on self-pollinating fig trees, meaning they don’t require cross-pollination from other trees to produce fruit. Interestingly, the majority of figs rely on a fascinating symbiotic relationship with female wasps for pollination. These wasps enter the figs to lay their eggs, inadvertently pollinating them in the process. 

When is Fig Season?

Fig season typically starts in late summer, usually towards the end of June, and extends through early fall, ending around October or November, depending on the region. This period is when fresh figs are most abundant and at their peak ripeness, making it a great snack to enjoy anytime of the day.

Which Fig Varieties are Grown in California?

Several different varieties are grown in California, including:

  • Black Mission figs
  • Brown Turkey Figs 
  • Kadota figs
  • Calimyrna figs
  • Adriatic figs 

Each of these fig types has their own unique flavor profile and characteristics, contributing to the diversity of California’s fig industry.

How to Select Figs

A great way to select figs is by examining their appearance, texture, and aroma. Look for figs that are plump, soft, and free of bruises or blemishes. The skin should be smooth and slightly wrinkled, indicating ripeness. Avoid figs that are overly mushy or have a sour smell. Additionally, choose figs that feel heavy for their size, as this indicates juiciness.

Equipment needed for peeling figs.

Items you’ll Need

  • Figs
  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board
  • Slotted spoon
  • Small pot
  • Large bowl
  • Water
  • Ice
Set of three neutral mixing bowls with lids.

Set of 3 Mixing Bowls with Lids

Shop these bowls at Target

Did you know?

Figs are not technically fruits but are inverted flowers. The seeds of the fig fruit are the real fruits, while the fleshy part that we eat is an inverted flower.

How to Peel Figs

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil. Adjust size of pot depending on the volume of figs to be peeled. While you’re waiting for water to boil, wash your figs then proceed to use a sharp knife to mark an X on their bottom. 
  2. Once water comes to a boil, drop the whole figs in. Boil for 25 seconds. 
  3. Remove them with a slotted spoon and shock them by immediately dunking in a bowl of ice water. Leave figs in the ice water for 3 minutes.
  4. After removing figs from the bowl, cut off the stems located at the top of the fig. 
  5. Flip fig over to where the X is visible and slowly peel the skin away from the fruit. 

Helpful Tips and Tricks

  • Dried Figs – Avoid using dry figs. Unfortunately, this method won’t work for them. Dried figs have a tougher chewy texture compared to fresh figs because the drying process removes moisture from the fruit. This dehydration causes the skin of the fig to adhere tightly to the flesh, making it difficult to peel. Additionally, the skin of dried figs may have a wrinkled or shriveled appearance, further complicating the peeling process. 
  • Unripe Figs – Unripe figs may have a less developed sweet flavor compared to the sweetness of ripe figs. 
  • Take your Time – Taking your time when peeling figs is important to ensure that you remove the delicate skin without damaging the flesh beneath. Figs have a soft and jammy texture, and rushing the peeling process can result in the flesh breaking or tearing. By proceeding slowly and carefully, you can gently remove the skin while preserving the integrity of the fruit, ensuring that you can enjoy their full sweet flavour and texture.

Ways to Enjoy Peeled Figs

Now that you know how to peel figs, you can enjoy them in various ways — whether as a tasty snack, a refreshing addition to fruit salads, or a star ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes. Their natural sweetness and versatility make them a delicious food choice for any time of day. Here are a few ideas to inspire you:

  • Raw Figs: Enjoy peeled figs as a delightful snack on their own, savoring their natural sweetness and juicy texture.
  • Fresh Fruit: Combine peeled figs with other fresh fruits to create a vibrant and nutritious fruit salad, perfect for a light and refreshing snack or dessert.
  • Snack Time: Indulge in peeled figs as a quick and satisfying snack between meals, offering a burst of flavor and energy.
  • Delicious Food: Incorporate peeled figs into your favorite recipes, such as salads, desserts, or even savory dishes, to add a unique and delicious touch to your culinary creations.
  • Morning Bowl of Oatmeal: Upgrade your morning routine by adding smaller pieces of peeled figs to your bowl of oatmeal, infusing it with their rich flavor. 
  • Fig Jam – To whip up a quick and easy fig jam, mash up your peeled figs and mix it in a bowl with a bit of lemon juice. Warm up a small saucepan and pour in the fig mixture. Add in any desired sweetener. Stir occasionally so that it doesn’t burn. Mixture should thicken up after a few minutes. Take saucepan off the heat and spread over a slice of good, crusty bread. Finish off with a bit of lemon zest. 
Fig syrup in a glass bottle.

Becoming adept on how to peel figs opens up a world of possibilities. Whether enjoying them fresh, incorporating them into various fig recipes, or savoring them as a wholesome snack, figs are a versatile and delightful fruit. This simple way of peeling figs allows you to explore new fig-focused dishes!

Common Questions About How to Peel Figs

How to Store Peeled Figs

To store peeled figs, place them in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag and refrigerate them. It’s best to consume them within a few days for optimal freshness. If you’re not planning to use them immediately, you can freeze them for longer-term storage. Check out our simple guide on how to freeze figs. 

Can you Eat Figs with the Skin On?

Yes! The skin of figs is edible and contains fiber and nutrients. However, some people prefer to peel figs before consuming them, especially if they have thicker skins or if they have a preference for the texture of peeled figs. 

Whole figs in a strainer.

For more helpful guides, you may like these:

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Tips for How to Freeze Figs with Step By Step Photos

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