Drying Figs in the Sun

Updated on August 2, 2016
Fresh Figs
Fresh Figs | Source
Fig Leaf
Fig Leaf | Source

A Biblical Leaf

Adam and Eve covered themselves with fig leaves after the fall from grace—according to the Old Testament. This tells us that the fig tree, Carica Figus, and it fruits go back a long way.

Wild figs derived from Afghanistan and West Asia. From here fig trees have spread to the subtropical areas around the Mediterranean. Fig tree was brought to Spain and Portugal from the Arabs around 700-800 AD.

Personally I have known dried figs since my Danish childhood Christmas. No Christmas without marzipan, clementines, nuts and dried figs !

Fig Tree in Andalusia
Fig Tree in Andalusia | Source
Fresh figs have a short shelf life
Fresh figs have a short shelf life | Source

Fresh Figs

The fresh fig is pear-shaped and can be up to 8 cm high. The ripe fig can be both yellow-green or black-purple depending on variety.

The skin has a faint glow.. It is fruit sugar, which is pulled out through the skin from within and acts as a preservative in the fruit.

Fig contain large quantities of fruit sugar. But a large water content makes the taste of fresh figs quite different from the dried fig. Green figs have a mild acidic taste, while the dark varieties are more sweet in flavor.

The freshly picked figs have a short shelf life, so it's a good idea to know what you want to use them for - before you pick them. They only keep for a few days in the refrigerator.

Of course you can eat figs straight from the tree, but you can also make them into various products such as fig compote, fig chutney or naturally dried figs.

Figs hung out to dry on a straw
Figs hung out to dry on a straw | Source
- or laid out to dry
- or laid out to dry | Source

Did You Know?

  1. The fruit sugar in figs provides energy without fat.
  2. Both fresh and dry figs have a high content of pro-vitamin A and several minerals: phosphorus, iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium.

How To Dry figs in The Sun

For centuries the tradition of drying fruit in the sun has been a way of preserving food for the long cold winter, and it is still common practice in the Mediterranean countries.

Even though there are many different ways of drying figs - it is a very simple procedure.

This Is How I Do It:

  1. Leave the figs on the tree until they are ready to fall off the tree.
  2. Dip each fig in boiling salt water for 30 sec and then let them dry in the kitchen on a clean tea towel.
  3. Use straw or wooden barbecue sticks and pin them through 5-6 figs each. If you can't live with the insects that will be attracted by the figs - use a Food Pantry Hanging Dehydrator / Dryer.
  4. Hang up the straws or barbecue sticks in direct sun for a couple of days for the figs to dry.
  5. You don't want your figs to go hard, so after a few days: move the figs from the sun to half shadow for approx. 8 days.
  6. The point of drying the figs in the sun is to remove water from the fruit to inhibit the growth of microorganisms. Therefor: take the figs in at night to avoid "set backs" from the dew.
  7. If the figs are not flat enough, when they are finished drying, and if they are too hard to just press flat - dip them in boiling salt water again. That way you slightly bleed up the figs, so you can pres them gently into shape.
  8. Let the figs drip dry on a clean linen cloth and give them a few more hours in the sun.
  9. Make sure they are absolutely dry before you put them away - to prevent mold.

How To Store Dried Figs:

Keep the figs in an air-tight container. Air will make the figs go hard as stone. The right temperature is below 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius). Under the right conditions, dried fruit will store for 12 months.

Now you can serve sun dried figs for Christmas.

Drying Figs in the Oven

Health Benefits of Figs

Questions & Answers


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      • A Dane in Spain profile imageAUTHOR

        Dorte Holm Jensen 

        5 months ago from Torrox, Malaga. Spain

        Hi Fred

        Sorry if the videos have loud music on them.

        The videoes are just extra and I blankly admit that I haven't chekked them for a long time, as it has been ages since I was on Hubpages - in fact I don't even know if they change randomly.

        Changing videos is going on my to-do-list!

      • profile image


        5 months ago

        it would have been nice to hear your instructions but with that loud and unnecessary music it was impossible

      • A Dane in Spain profile imageAUTHOR

        Dorte Holm Jensen 

        8 months ago from Torrox, Malaga. Spain

        For Cristina and Joerg:

        Salt is a natural preservative. The main effect of salt is that it kills microorganisms. Spores are not killed, but they can't germinate.

      • Stina Caxe profile image

        Cristina Cakes 

        8 months ago from Virginia

        A helpful article for someone like me who just bought a home with several fig trees and has no experience whatsoever with figs or what to use them for!

      • profile image


        2 years ago

        Hi, i've looked at a number of other drying recipes for figs and yiurs is the only one that poaches them in saltwater. I'm just curious, what does the salt do?

      • profile image


        2 years ago

        Why do i get maggots in my died figs during the drying period also how long should you leave them in full sun sun at the moment around 30c

      • A Dane in Spain profile imageAUTHOR

        Dorte Holm Jensen 

        2 years ago from Torrox, Malaga. Spain

        Hi Michael

        I don't have any experience sundrying figs in a tropical climate. However I think you are right, the humidity would be too high.

        Let's see if anybody out there has any experience with sundrying in the tropics or if they use a dehydrator....

      • profile image


        2 years ago

        Thanks for this article. I'm wondering if this works in the tropics since the humidity is so high (above 60%).


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