Fig-uring Out Fresh Figs: What to Buy, How to Store and the Best Ways to Enjoy

Learn all about figs: what to look for when buying them and how to store them properly. Plus, get some great ideas for enjoying them.
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Photo by: digitalgenetics ©digitalgenetics

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By Angela Carlos

This week’s episode of Guy’s Grocery Games was a real blast from the past. Four competitors from Food Network Star, Season 2 arrived in Flavortown ready for their 10-year reunion and the chance to compete against each other for a $20,000 shopping spree. As with all reunions, there was a certain amount of reminiscing that went on, even within the games themselves.

For Game 1 Guy asked his friends to make a Five Star Dish that would represent who they are, with one catch. In an homage to the competitors' first challenge on Food Network Star, each dish had to include five items: wine, pork, steak, shrimp and onion.

Then came the figs. Reggie Southerland made a surprise appearance midway through game one with his favorite ingredient. The sweet addition threw a wrench into the contestants’ culinary plans. But they made do, tossing the dried figs into their sauces and demi-glace to add a little sweetness to their savory main courses.

Watching the chefs work with the surprise ingredient got us thinking about how we like to use figs in the kitchen. Here are our favorite tips for buying, storing and cooking figs to make sure you get the best fig-y flavor in your dishes:

Buying: If you aren’t a fig person, maybe you just haven’t had the right fig. The perfect fresh fig should give ever so slightly to the touch.

Storing: Fresh figs are delicate and have a short shelf life. They will keep for several days stored in the fridge. Store them in a paper-towel-lined container to protect them from getting squished in the fruit drawer.

Dried vs. Fresh: Dried and fresh figs aren’t really equals when it comes to flavor. Dried figs are super sweet and delicious in their own right, but they don't have the bright flavor of a fresh, ripe fig.

Pairings: Figs are small, but they have a lot of flavor, which makes them able to compete with other strong-flavored foods such as pungent cheeses (think Stilton or Manchego), tangy balsamic vinegars, salty cured meats and creamy sauces.

Watch Guy's Grocery Games on Sundays at 8|7c.
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