What To Do With Overripe Figs

Dried figs are super accessible, but fresh figs — not so much. Though the fruit peaks during early spring and late summer, figs "quickly soften and this makes them highly perishable" (via Cook's Country and Rebecca Wood). When you finally track down the sweet, teardrop-shaped fruits, it can be tempting to load up, but their short shelf life still poses a problem. Rather than toss your stockpile of overripe figs into the compost bin, here's what you can do instead.

Whether you're a fan of a fruity Black Mission, nutty Calimyrna, or honeyed Sierra, choosing unbruised and unblemished fruit is key to avoiding immediate spoilage. Although figs should be eaten very soon after purchase, MasterClass notes that they can be kept in your fridge's crisper drawer for seven days or until moldy.

In an evolutionary response to promote seed spreading, Frontiers explains that as fruit sits and ripens, its starches break down and cause sugar levels to increase and aromas to become more fragrant. Although figs are picked when they're already ripe, the longer they rest, they'll also eventually start oozing syrup from their base, indicating that there's no sweeter time to enjoy it. But, if you notice your figs have begun to drip and wrinkle excessively, it's time to repurpose them.

Cook overripe figs for a jammy flavor explosion

Fresh figs are a treat when enjoyed on their own. Biting into the soft and slightly seedy fruit reveals a gorgeous, rosy interior bursting with molasses and berry-forward flavors. But, if your figs are overripe and now looking less than aesthetic, there's a simple solution — cook them. According to Cook's Country, doing this will hide any imperfections while amplifying the natural sweetness of the fig as it caramelizes and stews in its juices.

Jams, sauces, and syrups are always a good way to use overripe fruit, but the options are really endless when it comes to figs. A powerhouse in both sweet and savory recipes, Food52 shares that beyond sugary and nutty pairings, the fruit can also provide a great contrast with salty meats like prosciutto or creamy dairy like labneh. Whether you bake them into a pretty fig and raspberry galette, blend them to make popsicles, or add them to a punchy fig mustard, you'll never compost an overripe fig again!

Don't feel like experimenting with fig recipes just yet? Freeze the sweet morsels for a later date. After washing and drying, Allrecipes recommends placing figs on a lined baking sheet to freeze or quartering them and combining them with some sugar before freezing in an airtight container.