Labor Day has come and gone and with it comes a sense of disappointment for many. Summer's officially over. Now if you're one of those people who just can't let summer go (and I'd dare say you're in good company), fret not. Late summer brings with it the juiciest figs — perfect for baking in savory and sweet recipes, using in salads, preserving, or just eating straight from the bag. Now comes the question: how to choose good figs and how to store them?
Did you know fresh figs are one of the more perishable fruits? When you find yourself at the market staring down a pretty little basket, make sure you'll have the opportunity to use them in the next few days. I always try and use my figs within two days of buying them.
As far as selecting good figs, you want them to be soft — to give a little with the slightest pressure, but not at all mushy or hard. Avoid figs with bruises and check to see that the stems are firmly in place — a wiggly, loose stem is a dead giveaway for a mushy fig.
Store your figs in the refrigerator until you're ready to use them. Avoid unnecessary bruising by keeping them on a plate or a very shallow bowl and cover with plastic wrap so you don't end up with dried-up figs (or worse: figs that start to smell like last night's leftovers!). Before using, wash them under cool water and pat dry. Make sure to remove the stem.
Now what to do with all of those juicy figs?