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How do I safely dry figs?

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Figs, like all fruits, naturally contain several types of sugar. Over 50% of the weight of dried figs is sugar. This sugar is naturally present in the fruit and is not added during the processing procedure. Figs are easy to dry and the end product is excellent. When stored in a cool location, their shelf life is between 18 to 24 months. If frozen, the shelf life increases to 5 to 8 years. Varieties best for drying include Black Mission, White Adratics, Kadota, and Calimyrna figs. Figs are not picked from the tree. Ripe figs are those that have fallen off the tree. Harvest quickly when they fall as they are partly dried and usually mold-free. Preparation. Wash and remove stems. Large figs can be halved or quartered. Dry them with the skin down. Pretreatment. No pretreatment is necessary if drying in a dehydrator. Drying temperature. 106 F for 1 to 2 hours; reduce to 130 F until dry. Doneness. No pockets of moisture and leathery.

SOURCE: Deanna DeLong's book on "How to Dry Foods."

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, NC State University in July 2004

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