From the Mediterranean and the Middle East to certain parts of the USA, including California and Texas, figs are one of the most popular fruits and one of the healthiest ways to satisfy your sweet cravings.
Alongside their freshness and huge nutritious value, their taste is one of the main reasons why they are so popular.
But what do figs taste like? I can fairly say that figs taste like berries dipped in a honey glaze.
But, as with all types of fruits, veggies, and food in general, some factors influence the exact flavor profile, including whether they are ripe or not, eaten fresh or dry, as well as according to their type.
What Do Fresh Figs Taste Like?
If there is anything that you can say for figs, then it is that they are sweet. Actually, their naturally sweet flavor is figs’ trademark and most people find it as a great alternative for classic sweet treats, including cookies, chocolate, etc.
However, that sweetness is not overwhelming, and there are also some other flavors that compliment their overall flavor profile.
In general, I would describe the taste of figs as sweet, rich, and earthy, with a mild tanginess and a subtle nutty flavor.
When you think about it a little, if you eliminated the sweetness, figs would taste somewhat like berries. But, when you add that natural sweetness similar to honey, you get the taste of berries mixed in a honey glaze.
And that is actually the best definition of a fig’s flavor profile for laymen.
They are decently firm on the touch, but when you taste the flesh, you will experience quite moist, somewhat jellylike flesh, perfectly combined with the crunch of the small seeds within.
Those seeds are small florets of the flower, so the seeds are not actually classified as a fruit. You are actually eating a flower in its finest and sweetest form.
Various Types Of Figs
The previous explanation of figs’ flavor profile was actually the general one. Although there aren’t many differences, the exact taste of fig depends on the exact type. So let’s see what those types are and how they influence the taste of figs.
Black Mission Fig
When you hear the description of figs’ taste, it is most likely that it is the flavor profile of one of the most popular fig varieties, known as the Black Mission fig.
This deep purple fig with reddish-pink flesh meets almost all the criteria of the classic fig.
It is super sweet, and when fully ripe, it almost has a jam-like flavor with hints of berry, caramel, and honey. Although the sweetness is dominant, there are some nutty undertones, which give this type of fig a rich, earthy flavor.
Black Mission figs are soft and velvety, with delicate skin, flesh that is quite tender and juicy and small seeds that add a slight crunch to the overall texture.
The only type of fig that is sweeter than the previous Black Mission fig is the Adriatic fig. This type of fig has a beautiful pale greenish-yellow skin that is thin and delicate, and a soft, pinkish-red flesh that is juicy, but a bit more tender.
Although very sweet, the sweetness is balanced to some extent, by slightly earthy undertones, which gives them a delicate and refined flavor.
When it comes to texture, Adriatic figs are soft and velvety, but with a little more tender flesh than the previously mentioned type of fig, but still very easy for chewing.
These figs are also known as “candy-striped figs” because their skin sometimes tends to be white and green striped, but also due to their high level of sweetness.
Calimyrna figs are one of the most beautiful figs with their fine yellowish skin and creamy-white or light pink flesh. Because of that, they are often sliced and served alone.
They are often quite large and their flavor is a bit different from traditional black or purple figs.
Although they are also quite sweet, they have a stronger nutty flavor, making them more suitable for charcuterie platters.
Their texture is also a bit different from other varieties, i.e. it is chewy and dense, similar to dried apricots. However, just like any other variety, it still has that crunchy bite thanks to the seeds within the flesh.
Brown Turkey Fig
The Brown Turkey fig has dark purple-brown skin and deep pink or red flesh. It is also one of the most popular varieties, and it has a similar flavor profile to popular Black Mission figs since it is very sweet.
However, its flavor profile is a bit more complex and it is often difficult to describe it. Some people say that it is similar to a combination of honey, caramel, and vanilla, with hints of berry or jammy notes.
Others describe it as having nutty or earthy undertones, with a subtle sweetness that is not overwhelming.
The overall texture is soft and tender, and the flesh is juicy and moist, with a subtle graininess from the small seeds inside.
Kadota figs have light green skin that is thin and delicate, and flesh that is pale, and creamy in color.
You can eat Kadota figs raw but take note that their flavor is not so distinct when compared to other fig varieties.
They are, indeed, quite sweet, but compared to other types, they have a very subdued flavor.
So, it is always a better idea to cook them and add some sweeteners to make up for that lack of flavor.
When it comes to texture, it is quite tender and slightly chewy. The flesh is soft and moist, with a subtle graininess from the small seeds.
Last but not least, the final fig variety on this list is Brunswick fig. It has dark purple-black skin and deep pink flesh.
When you bite into it, you will first notice its soft and juicy texture. The flesh is tender and moist, with a slightly grainy texture.
The flavor is sweet and rich with a taste that is similar to a combination of honey and caramel. Its subtle nuttiness gives it a slightly earthy undertone, but its overall flavor is predominantly sweet and fruity.
The slight amount of tanginess helps to balance out the sweetness perfectly, contributing to the very well-balanced flavor profile.
The Taste Of Figs Skin
One of the questions that I most frequently hear about eating figs is whether or not you should eat their skin.
And although many people don’t eat the skin, there is nothing wrong with eating it as well.
But what does it taste like? Well, the flavor of the fig skin can be described as subtle and slightly sweet, with a hint of earthiness.
I once tasted it on its own and I can say that it was slightly tangy and a little bitter. However, when eaten alongside fig flesh, that taste is overshadowed by the sweet and rich taste of the flesh.
When it comes to texture, I would describe it as delicate and tender, with a slight fuzziness on the outside.
What Do Dried Figs Taste Like?
If you can’t get enough figs and you are not happy about only consuming them in that short period of time in the summer, you can always dry them.
Dried figs are available all year round and you can enjoy them whenever you want. However, you should take note that they do not possess the same flavor profile as fresh ones.
Both versions of figs are quite sweet, but dried figs are much sweeter because the moisture from the fruit is removed during the drying process, which intensifies the natural sweetness.
So, fresh figs have a more fruity flavor, while dried figs possess a more sugary taste. Although they have nutty and slightly tangy undertones, they are very much predominated by the sugary sweetness.
When you bite into a dried fig, you’ll first notice a soft, chewy texture. The flesh is slightly grainy and has a dense, satisfying texture that is similar to gummy candy.
The skin is also edible and adds a slight chewiness to the overall experience of eating a dried fig.
So, next time when you have sweet cravings for chewy gum, take a bit of dried fig instead and you won’t regret it for sure.
What About Unripe Figs’ Flavor Profile?
Some people like to enjoy figs that are not fully ripe, so my task is to briefly explain their flavor profile in that state.
The first thing you can notice when you take a bite of unripe fig is that it is not as sweet as a fully ripe one. Instead, you will most likely experience a sour, slightly bitter taste.
Aside from that, the flesh of unripe figs is firmer and less juicy than that of ripe figs, with a slightly spongy texture that can be tougher to chew.
The skin is also thicker and less delicate and may have a slightly fuzzy texture.
For most people, an unripe fig is very unappealing, but there are some who tend to enjoy less sweetness and those bitter or astringent flavors. But they are certainly in the minority.
I have to say that, even if you don’t like unripe figs, you still shouldn’t toss them because they can be used in cooking and are often used in savory dishes such as curries and stews, where their sourness can add a tangy note to the dish.
How To Recognize A Bad Fig Based On Its Taste?
It is important to know how fresh and dried figs taste, but in my opinion, it is even more important to recognize the taste of bad figs.
There are actually a few flavors that bad fig can take on, based on the cause of spoilage.
Fig can be overripe, and in that case, it will have a slightly fermented taste, as well as a somewhat mushy texture.
If there is mold or bad bacteria present, the taste will be sour or acidic, and the texture will probably be quite slimy. If you notice that, it is essential to get rid of that fig.
Finally, bad figs may also have a rancid or off flavor due to exposure to light or air. This can cause figs to become oxidized and develop a stale, musty taste.
In all of these situations, it is best to toss the fig, especially if it tastes sour or acidic due to harmful bacteria growth.
Various Forms Of Figs And Their Flavor Profiles
Eating figs fresh or dried is undoubtedly not the only way to enjoy their delicate sweetness and other wonderful flavors. Figs can be used for making various food products, and in most cases, the flavor profile is amazing.
The main ingredients in fig jam usually include cooked figs, sugar, lemon juice, and some other flavorings, like for example, vanilla extract or some types of seasonings.
This natural spread is usually very sweet in flavor, with a slightly earthy and fruity undertone that comes from the figs.
The level of sweetness mainly depends on the amount of sugar added to the mixture.
But it also depends on the level of ripeness of the pigs. Some jams are made with ripe figs and they are usually very sweet as well.
However, less ripe figs can also be used for making fig jams, and those are less sweet with a slightly tangy, tart taste.
Last but not least, various seasonings and flavor enhancers, including cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla extract, can also be added to fig jams, and they will provide that well-known hint of spice to your sweet spread.
So, if you don’t have any cookie butter or Nutella, or just want to stay on the healthy side, fig jam might be your best bet.
If you want to know how to make your own sweet and healthy fig jam, check out this video.
You probably think that there is no nothing sweeter than ripe figs or fig jam. But wait until you taste some fig paste.
Fig paste, also known as fig puree, is a concentrated, smooth spread made from cooked figs that have been pureed and mixed with sugar or honey.
When cooked, figs tend to release even more sweetness, and since they are mixed only with sugar or honey, fig paste tends to have a more concentrated sweetness than any other fig product.
When it comes to texture, fig paste is smooth and dense, with a consistency similar to that of a thick, spreadable frosting.
Due to these triads, you can use it as a topping for toasts, filling for pastries, in addition to various sauces, dressings, marinades, and many others.
If you have fig paste or fig jam, but you don’t want to enjoy it in those forms, you can always make some delicious fig bars.
Also known as fig cookies, fig bars are a popular snack made with a filling of sweet fig paste or jam wrapped in a soft, cake-like crust.
The taste of this sweet treat is dominated by the sweet, fruity flavor of the filling, which is enhanced by the chewy texture of the crust.
The crust itself is mildly sweet and has a soft, cake-like texture that provides a pleasing contrast to the denser, stickier filling.
All in all, these bars are a delicious snack that offers a sweet and fruity taste with a soft, chewy texture and are a popular choice that can be enjoyed on the go.
Although it is less likely that you tried this type of wine, it is not out of hand to get to know its unique fig flavors.
Fig wine, also known as figgy pudding wine, is a sweet dessert wine that’s exact flavor profile can vary based on the specific recipe and winemaking techniques.
However, in general, this unique reddish-brown wine has a thick syrupy texture, and its flavor profile can be described as rich and fruity with notes of caramel, honey, and spice.
All types of fig wine are sweet, but the level of sweetness mainly depends on whether you will not add sugar.
Some types of fig wine are made with added sugar, which can make them quite sweet, while others rely solely on the natural sweetness of the figs themselves.
How To Enjoy Figs To Experience The Best Flavors?
Aside from picking fresh figs from the tree and eating them on their own, or enjoying dried figs, fig jams, etc., you can also pair figs with some other foods and food products and achieve their full flavor potential.
• Use Figs On Pizza: If you are a fan of the combination of sweet and savory flavors, it is best to top your pizza with some figs.
I recommend using some prosciutto alongside sweet figs because the sweetness of the figs pairs well with the saltiness of the prosciutto.
You can also add Parmesan cheese for a more complex flavor, as well as some arugula in order to provide your pizza with some peppery flavors.
• Enrich Your Favorite Salad With Figs: No matter what type of salad you add your figs to, I am sure that you can not go wrong. However, there are some ingredients with which figs thrive especially.
My advice is to always add arugula because it provides a slightly bitter and peppery flavor that compliments the sweetness of the figs.
Nuts are also a great addition to salads with figs because they give it an extra crunchy texture and nutty flavor that compliments the juiciness of the figs. It is best to choose walnuts if you have any at hand.
Finally, add some goat cheese to give your salad with a creamy and tangy element.
• Throw The Figs On The Grill: If you want to experiment, you can always grill your figs and they will have a unique and delicious flavor that is both sweet and savory.
When grilling figs, they tend to bring out the natural sweetness and caramelize their natural sugars, which gives them a slightly smoky and charred flavor.
When grilled, they become tender and juicy, and the heat softens the flesh and breaks down the fibers, making them easier to eat.
• Make A Smoothie With Figs: We all love smoothies because they are perfect for breakfast, snacks, or as a post-workout drink. I am not sure how many of you tried smoothies with figs, but I assure you that you won’t regret it if you try one.
You can use a huge variety of ingredients when it comes to this type of smoothie, but in general, fig smoothies will have a sweet and slightly earthy flavor that is reminiscent of the taste of fresh figs.
Some ingredients that work very well with fig smoothies are banana and almond milk since they can add a creamy and nutty flavor that works well with the sweet flavor of figs.
• Make A Delicious Fig Dessert: There are various types of desserts in which you can incorporate figs, but I am just gonna say that they are best when combined with cheese and crushed nuts.
The cheese will add some extra tanginess to the dessert and crushed nuts will provide it with a subtle nutty flavor and slightly crunchy texture.
Some other types of food with which you can pair figs to create a sweet masterpiece include honey, almonds, pistachio, yogurt, etc.
Watch the video below if you want to know how to make your own sugar-free figs dessert with only 3 simple ingredients.