I love figs.
No, let me rephrase that – I adore figs. Even more than peaches, those succulent incarnation of summer itself, figs make me swoon with sweet delight when eaten fresh.
And of course, dehydrating only concentrates that sweetness into a compact little package that stores well for a year or two.
One of my favorite recipes in my book, Restocking the Pantry, is the Fig Newton Butter. It takes dehydrated figs, mixes them with a few spices and some whey, and turns them into a delicious, probiotic spread that is scrumptious on toast, bagels, and anything else you care to smear. (And yes, it does taste just like the filling in a Fig Newton. Yummy! 🙂 )
But the first question is – how do you dehydrate fresh figs?
Question no more! Here's a quick tutorial to help you on your way to sweet delight.
How to Dehydrate Fresh Figs
1. Select fully ripe figs and wash the figs well.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil and prepare an ice bath. Dip each fig in the boiling water for about 30 seconds, then place directly in the cold water. This helps loosen the skin and facilitates evaporation.
3. If the figs are large, slice them in half lengthwise. If they're fairly small, say only an inch or two at the widest point, then you may dehydrate them whole.
4. Place the figs on dehydrator trays or baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Place in a dehydrator or oven set at about 135°F. With an oven, preheat it at the lowest temperature possible.
5. Dehydrate the figs for 8-24 hours, turning every few hours if using the oven and basting in any accumulated juices. Depending on the relative humidity and size of the fruit, drying times can vary widely.
6. Remove figs when they are fully dry to the touch, but still pliable and chewy. You can best judge the state of the figs by removing one from the batch, letting it cool, then biting into it to judge its texture and appearance.
7. Once finished, cool figs completely before placing in airtight containers. Dried figs will keep for 1-2 years in a cool, dark, dry location.