Tuesday, 12 November 2013

How to Sun Dry Figs

The lack of rain this year has had an impact on the olive crop but the fig trees are full of fruit. A traditional Mediterranean way to preserve some of the crop for winter use is to sun dry figs 

Figs, for drying, should be allowed to ripen to sweetness before picking but not allowed to become over-ripe and too soft. 

Prepare figs for drying by submerging in boiling water for about 30 seconds. This kills any insects or growth on the figs surface and helps with the drying process. Boiling is best done using a colander which can then be submerged in cold water to avoid cooking the figs. Place the drained figs of a tea-towel to dry off. Once dry cut the figs into halves ready for drying.

The best thing to use for sun drying is an oven tray with a wire rack which allows for good air circulation. Place the figs on top of the wire rack and cover with insect proof netting to deter any bugs. Placing the tray quite near the house should also prevent any birds from trying to have a nibble. 

Dry the figs during the day for 4-7 days depending on the strength of the sun but bring the fruit in at night to avoid spoiling by night-time humidity. The figs will be dried when they feel leathery on the outside and no juice emerges from the center when squeezed.

As a final safety precaution, freeze the dried figs for 2-3 days, to absolutely ensure any insects are killed. Your dried figs will keep for about six months if kept in an airtight container.

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