There are two ways to buy organic figs; fresh or dried. While dried organic figs are plentiful in most locations all year, fresh figs are quite seasonal and may be difficult to find in some areas.
Fresh Organic Figs
Fresh figs are very delicate. Even in season, many conventional grocery stores don't carry them because they are quite perishable and difficult to transport. They grow best in warm climates, where temperatures stay above freezing most of the time. If you love fresh figs, you may want to consider growing them yourself. It isn't difficult and in colder climates they make a great container plant.
In areas where figs do grow, the best place to find them fresh is at the local farmer's market. Figs are in season briefly in late summer to early fall, depending on what part of the country you live in. California figs may be found in some specialty stores from June through September. Each variety is available at a slightly different time.
There are literally hundreds of varieties. Some that are common in the United States are:
- Adriatic - a less sweet variety with red flesh
- Brown Turkey - very sweet and great for the home gardener
- Celeste - works well in containers and is a small, sweet fruit
- Mission - one of the best for drying and is sweet with dark flesh
Choosing and Storing Fresh Figs
When choosing fresh figs, look for the fruit that is plump. The stems should be firm and the flesh should not have any soft, mushy spots or bruises. The color should be as deep as the variety allows. The scent should be mild and sweet without any sour or off smell. Ripe figs will keep in the refrigerator about two days before they start to go bad. The best way to store them is to gently place them in a food grade plastic container lined with a few layers of paper towels. The container should have a tight fitting lid. This will keep the fruit from bruising or taking on flavors from other nearby foods.If the figs are under ripe you should keep them on a paper towel lined plate at room temperature. Keep them away from direct sunlight. As soon as they are ripe, you should refrigerate them.
Dried Organic Figs
You should be able to find dried organic figs any time of the year, although you may need to shop at a specialty store to get them. Many natural foods stores like WholeFoods have dried figs in bulk as well as packaged.
Look for dried figs that look moist and are securely packaged. Check for signs of mold or spoilage. Keep them in a cool, dark place. You can also keep them in the refrigerator. Unlike conventionally dried figs, organic dried figs do not contain sulfites. Sulfites can cause migraines and other adverse reactions in some people, especially those with asthma.
Where to Buy Organic Figs
Farmer's markets are a great place to try to find figs. If you can't find a source of figs near you, check with Local Harvest. This wonderful resource lists farms and other sources for organic produce in many areas.
If you can't find organic figs at your local store or farmer's market, you can easily find them online. Some places to check for organic figs are:
Figs are a great source of calcium, fiber, and other important nutrients. They are a sweet addition to baked goods, make a delicious organic snack, and go well on cheese and fruit trays. Serving organic figs is a great way to add nutrition and flavor to your family's diet.