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. Their sweetness makes them a welcome addition to desserts, breakfast sweets, and baked goods as well as a natural complement for savory foods like meat and cheese; we love adding fresh figs to charcuterie or cheese plates as well as salads, sauces, and stews. Typically available from May through November, figs come in hundreds of varieties that range in color from deep purple to almost white, and in flavor from jammy and fruity to honeyed and floral. Try them on toast with ricotta and honey, tossed into salads, or added to compotes.
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 need be 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 you serve them. Rinse them and remove the stem.