Tips for Picking Figs
Figs are climacteric. That means they will continue to ripen after they are picked. First you must recognize when they have reached the point so that they will continue to ripen. In figs this marked by the fruit pedicel -or stem- which can be very short, about ¼ inch or less. When the stem is straight they will not ripen any further if picked. When the stem starts to bend it will continue to ripen. Usually the fruit will also begin to bend too. Only in varieties that have a very short stem will this be difficult to see. The next you will see a change in color which at first is a yellow cast and in some varieties like Brown Turkey they will turn shades of brown. The final stage of ripening they will develop cracks in the skin. At this point they are very very sweet and are oozing sugar. The bees love the sugar and start lapping it up making a wound which oozes more sugar and before you know it there is a whole that looks like a bird pecked the fig. When picking very ripe figs I always give it a little bump to scare the bee away before I pick. You should try to pick the fig with the stem on it. If you tear it off the life of the fig in the refrigerator is shorten greatly. Figs are best used the day you pick or in just a day or so and you should get them in the refrigerator as soon as possible. Picked properly they will even ripen in the refrig. That is why you rarely see true southern figs in the store. They can not control the shelf life.
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