Though they’re available (and delicious) in candied, dried, and canned forms, fresh figs are something else entirely: aromatic, delicate, and less syrupy-sweet than their preserved counterparts, with a lovely crunch from their many tiny seeds. Its sweetness makes the fruit a welcome addition to desserts, breakfast sweets, and baked goods, as well as a natural complement for savory foods like charcuterie and cheese. Typically available from May through November, figs come in hundreds of varieties that range in color from deep purple to yellow- and green-striped, and in flavor from jammy and fruity to honeyed and floral. Try sliced figs on toast with ricotta and honey, tossed into salads, or made into compote.
HOW TO BUY
Choose smooth, unblemished figs that smell fragrant.
HOW TO STORE
Figs are extremely perishable, so use them quickly: they’re best within a day or two, but if necessary they can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.
HOW TO PREPARE
Because of their low acidity and high moisture and sugar content, figs spoil easily, so we recommend slicing them open to check for spoilage before serving. Rinse them and remove the stem.