How to Stew Figs

Fresh figs are highly perishable, but dried figs are hardy, available year-round and easy to ship and store. You can eat both fresh and dried figs plain, or you can stew figs for a warm, sweet treat that also works well with savory dishes. According to the California Fig Advisory Board, the most common American figs are the deep purple Mission figs and the golden-brown Calimyrna. Both of these figs lend themselves to stewing, although they have different flavor profiles. Choose Calimyrna figs when possible for savory dishes.

Stewed figs on a plate with cheese and honey. (Image: SMarina/iStock/Getty Images)

Stewing Dried Figs

Step 1

Cut off the stem of each fig with scissors, and cut the figs into bite-size piece.

Step 2

Place the figs in a saucepan, and cover them with 2 to 3 cups of water.

Step 3

Cook the figs over low heat until they are soft -- about half an hour.

Step 4

Drain the figs in the colander, and set them aside to cool.

Stewing Fresh Figs

Step 1

Trim the stems off the fresh figs with the scissors.

Step 2

Place the fresh figs in a saucepan, and cover them with water.

Step 3

Place the saucepan on the burner, and turn the heat to medium-high. Heat until boiling.

Step 4

Reduce the heat to low, and simmer the fresh figs until tender -- about 20 to 30 minutes.

Step 5

Pour the sugar over the figs and stir with a large spoon. Simmer the figs for an additional 5 minutes.

Step 6

Drain the figs in the colander, and set them aside to cool.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 lb. dried figs or 8 large, fresh figs

  • Scissors

  • 1/4 cup sugar, for fresh figs

  • Colander

  • Large spoon


Add sliced orange or lemon to the simmering figs for flavor. Spray the blades of your scissors with vegetable oil to prevent dried figs from sticking when you cut them. You can stew dried figs whole for a more elegant presentation. Save the water you drain off the stewed fresh figs, and reduce it to a glaze.

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