5 ways to tell your figs are ripe

5 ways to tell your figs are ripe

Figs can be a finicky fruit–they don’t ripen off the tree, like apples or pears. In Victoria, what is considered a cooler climate for figs, we only get what’s called the breva crop. These are figs produced on last year’s branches, ripened into ready-to-eat fruit for this year’s harvest.

To make sure you get the most out of your fig tree’s breva, we’ve got five tips on how to determine when this fruit is ripe for the picking.

1. How’s it hanging?

Take a look at how your figs are situated on their respective branches. If it is stiff, resisting gravity, and sticking straight out from the branch, then the fig is NOT ripe. A ripe fig is droopy, hanging low and begging to be plucked from the branch.

2. What colour is it?

Regardless of the variety, the colour of your figs will shift as they ripen. For example, a Desert King starts off dark green, gradually turning to a light greenish-yellow when ready to pick.

2a. What colour is it inside?

An unripe fig is thick-skinned and if you were to cut it open, the inside would be hard and white. A ripe fig is thin-skinned (no offense) and inside you’ll find seeds that are gooey and pink.

3. What does it feel like?

Ripe figs are soft and squishy, like a partially full water balloon. Squeeze your fig to test its ripeness–can you easily pierce the skin? If yes, your fig is ripe. If the skin doesn’t give under your fingertips, your fig is not quite ripe.

4. What does it taste like?

A perfectly ripe fig will taste honey-sweet. A perfectly unripe fig will taste vegetal, almost like a cucumber. If your figs look and feel ready, a taste test is a good next step to determine if they’re good to go.

5. Check the belly button

The “belly button” is the small round opening on the bottom of the fig. On a ripe fig, the belly button will be open, cracking open, or dripping juice. If you gently squeeze a perfectly ripe fig, a drop of syrup should appear from the belly button. 

We hope these tips will help you pick riper, sweeter and juicier figs!