October 19, 2011
Fig trees are prolific fruit producers; is it any wonder that in many cultures the fig is a symbol of abundance and fertility? (Not to mention its aphrodisiac qualities … but that’s a story for a future blog.) My favorite way to eat figs is plucked fresh from the tree, and a little prosciutto wrapped around them is fabulous. Try it if you have fresh figs.
Our trees produced more figs than usual this year, so I tried my hand at drying some. I do have a dehydrator, but fruits and veggies tend to get a little too dried for my taste. So this season I dried my figs in a low oven. It’s an easy, low-maintenance method, and the payoff for minimal work is a sweet addition to your morning oatmeal or granola, or a quick upgrade to your cheese platter. You can even whip up a simple fig loaf by pulsing a handful of dried figs in your food processor with walnuts and a drizzle of honey.
Oven-Method Dried Figs
First I laid out the figs on baking racks and baked them in my oven for about eight hours at 200 degrees. I put my oven on the “surround” setting—I have no idea what that means technically, but it seemed appropriate. Every few hours I flipped the figs over with my bare hands—they were just warm to the touch, not hot. After removing the baking racks from the oven, I let them rest on the counter to cool and then stored the figs in airtight containers at room temperature. I’ve noticed that the flavor has intensified as the days pass by, and of course the sugar content of figs multiplies as they dry.