Do Figs Go Bad? Tips To Keep Them Fresh Longer

There are more than 1 million tons of figs grown each year. Humans have been consuming figs for a long time. Either fresh or cooked, they can be used in sweet dishes or savory. The humble fig is even used as a sugar replacement in some countries. However this tantalizing fruit is soft and yummy but can it last for a long time?

Did you know that figs pack more potassium once for once than bananas? The fig has many health benefits, from lowering blood pressure and protecting your heart than just about any other fruit.

Fresh figs are a treat, but they are soft and, when ripe, can have a short shelf life. Is there a better way of preserving figs than drying them?

This article examines how to preserve fresh figs for the maximum shelf life. We answer many frequently asked questions providing you with factual information.

Let’s get into it.

Do Figs expire?

Yes, the humble fig has a short shelf life, and at room temperature, a ripe fig may only last for a day or two before it needs to be thrown out.

Of course, storing figs for a long time can be achieved, but it will depend on how ripe the fruit is. It is essential to check the figs frequently and check for signs of mold.

Mold spreads quickly at room temperature, and before you know it, a fruit bowl full of figs can be contaminated with mold spores making the fig inedible.

Your ripe fig should have healthy, bright purple or aubergine-colored skin; the skin should not be soft or mushy but pliable.

Figs store better where they can breathe. They don’t like to be stacked. Store the fruit in a cardboard tray or polystyrene tray, you can wrap a paper towel around the edges of the fig, so they are not touching. Wrapping the fruit with paper will allow a small amount of moisture to be absorbed, keeping the fruit fresh.

Figs are delicate so place the tray in the crisper in the fridge. They will last longer in a cool environment. You will need to cover the tray with something like clog wrap. Figs will absorb intense aromas from the fridge, like onion, garlic, and even smelly cheese.

If you store fresh figs this way, you can expect them to last for a week, maybe ten days. Don’t store figs with bananas or fruits that emit ethylene gas. They will spoil very quickly as the gas will cause them to over-ripen.

Do figs need to be refrigerated?

Yes. Figs at room temperature have a short shelf life depending on how ripe the figs are. But most figs from the grocery store are ready to be atm, so storing figs in a fruit bowl will limit the fig’s life.

Place figs in a tray, wrap them with kitchen paper and place them in the fridge’s crisper compartment. The figs must not be touching and have space for air circulation.

Cooked figs may be stored in the fridge unless they have been used in a jam or jelly. Dried figs can stay covered at room temperature for about a month.

Do figs have to be covered?

Yes. Figs are delicate and will soak up the aromas of other foods in the fridge. Figs and onions are not a great combination, so place a cling wrap over the tray of figs.

The use of airtight containers should be avoided, figs need to breathe, and the airtight container is not the right storage environment for this delicate fruit.

Can you put warm figs in the fridge?

It is not advisable.

Your fridge temperature will be 40℉ -18℃ or a little lower. Placing warm figs in the fridge will elevate their temperature while it radiates heat.

Your fridge may not be as efficient as you might have thought at removing heat. Most fridges take hours to come to 40℉ after being switched on after cleaning.

So, what’s the big deal? The big deal is that food sitting at a temperature of 40-140℉ is in the food danger zone. It’s not just your figs. It is the contents of the entire fridge.

Above 40℉-18℃ bacterial growth on perishable foods will accelerate exponentially. It should be discarded if the food remains at an elevated temperature above 40℉-18℃ for just two hours.

According to the USDA, after two hours in the food danger zone, perishable foods contain enough bacteria to cause food poisoning.

Furthermore, the figs should be covered in the fridge so there will be no condensation!

How long can warm cooked figs sit out?

Two hours. Remember the food danger zone? According to the USDA, perishable goods sitting out for two hours should be discarded, and the bacteria growth on the food has multiplied rapidly, making the food unfit for consumption.

Eating food sitting out for two hours or more could cause food poisoning.

Do unopened figs go bad?

Canned figs have a long shelf life, can last long past the expiration date, and should not degrade. But as with most canned things, there is one big caveat, and the can needs to be in good condition: no dents, no rust, no leakage, and no swelling.

Once the can is open, the figs should be placed in an airtight container and stirred in the fridge, stored this way, they will last for one week.

An unopened jar of fig jam or jelly stored in a cool dark environment like the fridge or the pantry will last for two years.

Dried figs can last 18 months in their original packaging stored in the fridge.

How long do figs last in the fridge?

It depends on how ripe they are, but if you assume the figs are ripe and ready for eating and stored correctly, they will last between 5  and 7 days.

An open can of figs will last for seven days, and dried figs last for a long time but should be stirred in an airtight container to prevent them from turning soggy or becoming rubbery.

Do frozen figs go bad?

In theory, frozen figs should last a long time. The USDA scientists say that foods stored at 0℉ or below can last indefinitely in the freezer. And indeed, they can.

However, there does come the point that the fig will start to degrade, and its texture will change. The flavor profile will alter and may become non-existent.

So do figs go bad in the freezer? It depends on your interpretation of the word bad!

But there is good news. Figs do freeze well.

Below is a chart of how long figs will last in the pantry fridge and freezer.

Ripe figs2-5 days5-7 days6-8 months
Canned figs18 months (unopened)7 days
Dry figs1 month (sealed)6-12 months12-18 months

How to freeze figs

  • The figs will need to be cleaned thoroughly under running cold water. Don’t scrub or use detergents. Just wash them gently and remove any packaging or farm debris from the fruit.
  • Let the figs drip dry for 30 minutes in a colander.
  • Place the figs on a kitchen towel and dry each individual fig. This will help to prevent freezer burn and damage to the fig.
  • Flas freeze the figs quickly. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spread the washed figs out in a single layer. A little space should be left around each fig to prevent them from touching. Spend two to four hours freezing the figs. 
  • Remove the figs from the freezer.
  • Place the figs in a sealable freezer bag.
  • Remove as much air from the freezer bag as possible and seal it tightly.
  • Mark the bag with the contents and the freezing date and add the estimated expiry date also.
  • Place the figs in the freezer.

Freezing dried figs is a simple process. Little is required to freeze the dried fig fruits. Make sure the fruits are not entangled before packing them in a frost-resistant pouch because if they are, they will be difficult to separate once frozen.

How to defrost figs?

It is easy. Place the frozen figs in the fridge overnight. In the morning, you will have juicy edible figs. They taste fantastic when cold and can be used in place of ice cubes to give that extra surprise.

How can you spot a bad fig?

Fresh figs should be firm and pliable. The skin should generally have a shiny purple tone (some are green). If your fig does not look and feel this way, it may be past its best and should be tossed out.

Dried figs tend to get mold or change color. If the fig looks different, don’t eat it. If the figs have mold, don’t eat them.

Final thoughts

When you next see fresh figs in the grocery store or market, buy a few extra pounds. Like other fruits, figs are super easy to freeze and last for almost a year when frozen.

Stored correctly in the fridge, the fig will last for a week, which is comparable to a banana, but the fig tastes better and has more health benefits than a banana.

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