Selecting Ripe Figs:
If are harvesting figs from a tree, check for color, size, and texture. Wait until figs have ended their unripen green color cycle and are turning the color appropriate for the variety. Dark figs should be ¾ brown with just a touch of green. Figs are ready to harvest when they have grown to the size expected and feel soft, but not mushy to the touch.
How to Preserve:
Freeze: Freezing is the preferred method for preserving figs for future use in “wet” recipes such as jams, jellies, and purees. Lay one layer of fresh figs on a cookie sheet or muffin tin that is covered with wax paper, so the figs do not stick to sheet. Freeze for a few hours and then transfer the frozen figs into freezer bags for extended storage. Remove all the air from the bag to avoid freezer burn. Frozen figs will be preserved for 1 to 2 years.
Please not that you should never stack unfrozen figs without freezing them first. They will be smashed!
Drying figs is the preferred method for long-term storage and for using in baking recipes. If you have a dehydrator, set whole, or cut figs on the tray and space apart so that they are not touching. Use a low and slow temperature: 130 degrees for 8 to 12 hours. Check your figs midway for stickiness. The figs are dry when they are not sticky and have a bit of a crunchy texture. Store in airtight containers, place in cupboard for 1 to 2 years.