Here's a good question from reader Betsy. She writes:
I was very happy to receive some gorgeous figs in my CSA this week. How do I know when they're ripe? They're a light purple color with light-colored stripes (and they're still a little green). Should I let them ripen on the counter or in the fridge?
Betsy, we love figs! It's wonderful you get them in your CSA box.
Figs do not ripen very well once they've been picked, however. Your best chance for getting them to ripen a little more is to leave them on a sunny windowsill for about a day. Once they soften a little more, eat immediately! You can hold them for an extra day in the fridge, but they will spoil quickly.
Ripe figs shouldn't feel hard, like an apple or unripe plum. They should give slightly to pressure, but they shouldn't be extremely soft or mushy. The best ripe figs are smooth and firm, holding their shape when sliced, but tender throughout and very sweet.
We recommend eating them fresh and raw with a soft cheese and some bread. Or you can roast them with rosemary and honey for a rich, sweet appetizer.
What are some of your favorite ways to use figs, and do you have any other advice for Betsy?
Related: Recipe: Fig and Lavender Goat Cheese Galettes
(Image: Faith Durand)