Make Your Own Power Snack by Drying Figs
Drying figs or generally drying fruit is actually not frequently done by the average gardening hobbyist. We buy dried fruits and enjoy them, but many of them contain artificial ingredients or have added flavours and sugars. Dried fruits are delicious and have many essential vitamins that raise your energy level. So if you have a fig tree you should try drying them at home and enjoy them the healthiest way possible. While drying figs is very popular, you can also dry other fruits such as plums, grapes, apples, kiwis and pineapples.
Peeling the figs is not necessary as the skin is delicious and rich in vitamins. Most of us do not have our own fig tree, but you can purchase organic ones or go to a farmer's market and buy fresh figs there. Drying figs will result in a much sweeter fruit that can be stored for many weeks as opposed to fresh ones. There are two ways to dry them: You can either dry them outdoors in the sun or in a drying stove.
Air drying is very simple and free. Here are some easy instructions that are very effective:
You can spread the figs on a net of wire and dry them in the hottest room of your house or outside in the sun. Make sure that the figs are protected from humidity and that they are not exposed to absolute extreme heats because they will lose their moisture completely. You should turn the figs once in a while so that they are equally dry on all sides.
Alternatively you can hang the figs up by using a thick needle and lining the figs onto a long thread. Drying figs that way is of advantage because turning them is not necessary and you can easily move them around. While there are special drying stoves, you can also use the one you have at home. It is important to keep an eye on them at all times because you want to avoid burning them. The heat should be very low and the ‘baking’ process can take a little while because you must dry them slowly. This method is very energy consuming but a much quicker way of drying figs.
If you have a fig tree that produces a whole lot of figs you may be better off with a special kind of drying machine that is particularly designed for that kind of job and dries the figs quicker using less energy. Once the figs are dried you should store them in a cool, dry and dark place where they last for quite a while. They are ideal for physically active people and children because they are a source of healthy sugars, thus a great way to get energy. It is truly a sweet and delicious power snack for school, work and at home.
While naturally drying figs is a good way to make your figs last longer, you can also try to candy them. Depending on the fruit’s size you can either use whole figs or cut them in half. No need to remove the skin but you should use a needle or sharp knife to pierce the skin a few times which makes it more absorbent. Place the figs in a pot with sugar and boil them for a few minutes but ensure that they are still firm. Then leave the figs in the sugar water over night. On the next day, pour some of the sugar water out, heat it up and mix some more sugar into it. Then pour the syrup on the figs and do another overnight soaking. You repeat this whole process about 9 days in a row. Top the syrup up with a little water if necessary to ensure that the figs are always fully covered by it.
On the 10th day you can take the figs out and dry them until the stickiness is gone and all that is left is a silky shine. Drying figs that way is great if you are planning on storing them for several months, however it is very sugary and thus less healthy than the natural way.