How to Peel and Prepare Fresh Figs

How to Peel and Prepare Fresh Figs
How to Peel and Prepare Fresh Figs

Summer is slowly coming to an end but on the positive note, late summer brings with it the juiciest, sweetest figs. Today I’ll be sharing with you some tips on how to peel and prepare fresh figs, plus some delicious, healthy recipes that the entire family will love.

My in-laws, who live in Sardinia, Italy have a vast garden that includes not one, but three fig trees. My son has made it his duty to accompany nonno first thing every morning to pick the ripest figs from the trees. He has literally become a fig connoisseur overnight, explaining in detail how to decipher which figs are perfectly ripe, just about ripe, and which are unsuitable for picking, and not to mention detailed instructions on how to pick them from tree as well.

How to Peel and Prepare Fresh Figs

Figs might be small but they are packed with essential vitamins and nutrients including fiber, calcium, manganese, iron, potassium and health-boosting antioxidants. They are also unbelievably versatile-they make very unique savoury starters, for example wrapped with prosciutto or as an addition to a cheese board, or lend a fresh element in sweet dishes, such as tarts and muffins.

How to Peel and Prepare Fresh Figs

The plus side of growing your own fig trees is that you can eat them right from the tree, skin and all. Fresh figs can be eaten with the skin on although some recipes suggest that they be peeled- for example jam, most likely to ensure a smoother texture. While dried figs are readily available in grocery stores, fresh ones are sometimes difficult to find and can become quite pricey when out of season. When I do purchase them at home in Canada, I prefer peeling the skins since they may contain residual pesticides. Although I love incorporating fresh figs in recipes, my favourite way to eat them is freshly picked from the tree. Sometimes we drizzle them with raw, local honey or add crumbled pistachios or almonds for texture.

Buying Tips:
Figs do not ripen after being picked so it is best to avoid unripe figs. On the other hand, when fully ripe, fresh figs become very soft and have a honey-like nectar that oozes from the bud side, making them hard to peel. Always choose figs that are richly coloured, plump and soft, but with unbroken skins. They should have a mild scent and give very slightly to a firm touch with your fingers.

Storing Tips:
Figs have a very short life span. After harvesting, they will only keep for a few days at best. Store them in the refrigerator in a shallow Tupperware bottom lined with paper towels and loosely covered with plastic wrap for no more than three days.

Peeling Tips:
Cut or twist the stem off, then score (make an “X”) the top of the fig (about 1/3  of the way) with a sharp knife.

How to Peel and Prepare Fresh Figs

Spread out the four sections. Place a sharp knife between the skin and the pulp on each individual piece, then slice through about ¾ of an inch down.

How to Peel and Prepare Fresh Figs

Peel the skin (from top to bottom) using your hands or a sharp knife, until you reach the bottom side of the fig. Remove and discard the skin.

How to Peel and Prepare Fresh Figs

Cut off the remaining skin on the bottom side of the fig, leaving only the pulp.

How to Peel and Prepare Fresh Figs

Figs also great additions to smoothies, since they blend well and add natural sweetness. This Turmeric-Spiced Fig & Banana Smoothie is a simple and nutritious recipe, ideal for babies and kids of all ages.

Ingredients (Yields one serving)
1 ripe banana, sliced into 1-2 inch pieces
4 fresh figs, peeled and stems removed
¼ tsp.turmeric
⅛ tsp. cinnamon
1-2 tsp. raw honey or maple syrup (optional)
¼ cup unsweetened coconut milk (or more, depending on desired consistency)

Peel the banana, then chop into quarters. Peel the figs then add to a blender with the bananas and the remaining ingredients. Blend on high speed for 1-2 minutes until combined and smooth.

Fig and Banana Smoothie

Here are some more delicious fig recipes:

Coconut-Caramelized Peach Fig Compote


3-Ingredient Fig Chia Jam

fig chia jam

54 thoughts on “How to Peel and Prepare Fresh Figs”

  • Marye Rusack 4 years ago

    My local store had a few small fig tree starters two years ago. Believe me they are really hard to find in Missouri. After killing two, the third is growing small fruit on the oldest stem. I think I finally have a ripe one. Can you describe what the fruit is supposed to taste like?

    • We are so lucky to have them, I know! And it’s a good thing I love figs too! Ripe figs should be very sweet and soft, and the inside should almost be like a thick jam consistency. I actually prefer mine slightly less ripe with a little bite.

  • I use an Italian tomato peeler to peel figs for jam and it works. Easy to use and none of the fig gets wasted.

    • Really? I never would have thought of that! We usually just eat them whole without peeling them (when we get them from our garden), but I have to try this trick. Thanks!

  • Great Article.
    I’ve recently harvested approx 300+ figs and have just finished making the second batch of fresh fig preserves. I had intended to come close to something my grandmother made 40 years ago, just w/out sugar. That’s right, no sugar added. 100% all natural fig preserves.
    BTW: due to demand New Twig continuously grows ( this naturally sweetened variety ) fig trees for those who long for growing their own.
    Have an Excellent & Blessed Day!!

  • Rachel 7 years ago

    I love figs so much but had no idea how to peel or prepare them fresh. I’m going to try this.

  • How delicious! I have never had a fresh fig before, but I would love to try one sometime, though.

  • I have not had a fresh fig before, but a guy that lives close to us has tons of fig trees planted outside of his business. I never knew that’s what a fig looked like when peeled.

  • That looks so yummy! I’ve never made anything with Fig, although I tried different treats when I’ve been out at various restaurants.

  • Lynn Dee 7 years ago

    I’ve heard about fig trees, but I don’t think I’ve seen one in person. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted any fig recipes too. That is cool.

  • Rebecca Swenor 7 years ago

    This is awesome information indeed for how to peel and prepare fresh figs. I have never had fresh figs before but I am going to have to get some. We love eating them. Thanks for sharing.

  • Erin Shebish 7 years ago

    I had no idea that you could just eat figs with the skin on! All the recipes Ive ever had required them to be peeled so I just assumed… lol.

  • WhispersInspire 7 years ago

    Mmm, this looks good. Saving for this so I know the proper way. Thanks!

  • This is great information. I have eaten figs but I have never prepared them myself!

    • They are (obviously) very easy to prepare! When not in season I sometimes buy them and serve them at dinner parties…they’re a great addition to a meal because they are so unique and versatile.

  • I learned my lesson when I decided to just go at a pomegranate without researching how to cut it. Saving this for future reference!

    • Lolol! How did you peel it? I have the PERFECT way to de-seed pomegranates! Cut the pomegranate into quarters, fill a bowl with water, then immerse the quartered pomegranate into the water and flip it inside out to release the seeds. The remaining ones just pop out with a little help from your fingertips!

  • Jeanine @ 7 years ago

    This is interesting! I don’t think I’ve ever even had a fig before. So this is good to know if I ever want to!

  • Dina 7 years ago

    I don’t think I’ve eaten a fig except for fig newtons. LOL I need to try one!

    • Nowhere near the same thing…I even wonder sometimes the actual percentage of REAL figs that are found in fig newtons! The flavour in them is similar to dried figs…but fresh figs are the best!

  • Aio Kona 7 years ago

    Learned something new today. I have never seen a fig tree, or its fruit. I only know of it when I read it in the ingredients list. I would love to try the smoothie. It looks delicious!

    • Good to hear! If you don’t mind a somewhat grainy texture, you will love the smoothie! The cinnamon and turmeric add a unique touch of flavour.

  • rika agustini 7 years ago

    I bought a fig plant. It’s still very young. So excited to pick the fruits next year

  • Ann Bacciaglia 7 years ago

    I have never tried to cook with Figs before. These recipes look delicious. I will have to try the Coconut Caramelized Peach Fig Compote first.

  • Mykidsguide 7 years ago

    I’ve learned so much about the figs today. I didn’t know that they can be eaten with the skin. I used the dried ones for my cooking.

  • Kira Thompson 7 years ago

    This is very cool. i know nothing about figs. I’ve only ever had them prepared for me or dried. Thanks for the tips!

  • I had no idea you could eat them right off of the tree too. I do like figs and I don’t see them used in enough recipes!

  • WEMAKE7 7 years ago

    I don’t think I have ever eaten figs before. I will have to try them sometime now.

  • Cherri Littleton Megasko 7 years ago

    Turmeric-Spiced Fig & Banana Smoothie? You sure got my attention! These look absolutely wonderful. I love fresh figs but have a rather difficult time finding them here.

  • Melissa Pezza 7 years ago

    It is so weird that you posted this! I just passed up fresh figs at the store the other day, because I’ve never prepared them before. I was actually just about to YouTube it.

  • Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle 7 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this! We have fresh figs at our grocery store, but I’ve never gotten them because I didn’t know what to do with them.

    • The best thing to do with them is eat them as is! I’ve eaten so many of them that I like to switch it up and prepare them in different recipes.

  • Terry My Journey With Candida 7 years ago

    Lucky you that you can get fresh figs like that. I love figs, but only eat them dried.

  • TheNewClassy 7 years ago

    I have never seen a fresh fig before. The only time that I think I had ever heard of them is in fig bars, which I love. They look really good!

    • Most people haven’t! I also love fig bars but I don’t eat them often because they are usually laden with sugar. With the fresh ones, you know what you’re eating!

  • Robin Rue 7 years ago

    I have never even seen a fig in real life. I don’t think they even sell them around my neck of the woods.

    • They are actually prety hard to find in most places. I think I’ve seen them only a handful of times at the grocery stores I go to. I always buy dried figs but never fresh when I’m at home.

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