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pezzuti9

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Reply with quote  #1 

If any of you have dried figs this way do you cut the figs in half or pieces before starting the drying process? I have some figs that I cut in half and larger ones in pieces being dried at this time. How long do you recommend keeping them in the dryer? How do you test if there done?

Thanks

Lou

 


lukeott

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Reply with quote  #2 

hey Lou, thats a very good question. can they be dried like other fruits like raisons, pineapple and apricot? where there is still moisture and tacky from the suger in the fruit. i'm not sure if that is the same as your talking about Lou. if not i'm sorry for butting in. good health, Luke

Bass

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Reply with quote  #3 
Lou,
I dried them in my dehydrator after cuttings them in half. The best one for drying was the Brooklyn White, but LSU Gold will be a good candidate for drying. 
How long depends on the dehydrator. You don't want to bake them, you want to dry them, so let it run for about 5 hrs or so until they feel dry to touch.

Here's a video on drying figs in a dehydrator.



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JD

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Reply with quote  #4 
I followed the prescription in How To Dry Foods:

from page 26
FRUIT: Figs
SUITABILITY: Excellent
SUITABILITY FOR LEATHER: Only in combination
STORAGE TIME FOR BEST QUALITY 34F (0C): 18 to 24 months
STORAGE TIME FOR BEST QUALITY 0F (-20C): 5 to 8 years

from page 30...see attached scan.

Also included an image from the most recent figs (pre-drying) of some of Frank's Alma's.

Attached Images
jpeg alma_fmd007.jpg (460.16 KB, 58 views)
jpeg how-to-dry-foods_figs_delong1992.jpg (982.17 KB, 46 views)


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jd | tallahassee.fl | zone 8b

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Reply with quote  #5 
JD can you show us pic's of the same figs after drying?
If so I'll be over in the morning:)

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Jim
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Live Oak Fl.
pezzuti9

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Reply with quote  #6 
Thanks for your ideas and suggestions.
Here are my findings.  The best dried figs turned out to be when I used the dark figs that I picked from the trees at the time they where just starting to 
wrinkle up. The Lsu Gold turned out good but not as tasty as the dark figs.

I had my dehydrator set to dry fruits (about 140 degrees F.)  The total time until four trays finished was 8 hours. Next batch I am going to incresase the temp to 160 deg. F. and see if they finish up faster without burning.

Bananas sliced thin are really good dried. Did four trays of them in 9 hours at the same setting. I like those a lot.
Thanks for helping me out.
Lou
JD

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Reply with quote  #7 
Jim,

Until you asked, here's what was left...hidden in the freezer to find on a cold night in January. I did save some for my wife and daughter.

Lou,
130-140 degrees for about 6-8 hours was about right for our dehydrator - the Nesco - and the size of the figs. In the past, when I have cut and dried smaller figs, they dry too fast, get too hard, and crunch. I now dry smaller figs whole and slice/pierce the skin. At higher temperatures, I have found that my dehydrator will dry the skin hard as a rock but leave the inside moderately dry as best. I would imagine that the Excalibur - Cadillac of the dehydrators - does it much better.

Attached Images
jpeg alma_fmd021.jpg (1009.69 KB, 59 views)
jpeg alma_fmd022.jpg (178.78 KB, 66 views)


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jd | tallahassee.fl | zone 8b

pezzuti9

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Reply with quote  #8 
Jim I have the same unit and my dried dark figs look just about the same condition as yours.
Thanks all of you.
Lou
frannymal21

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Reply with quote  #9 
Howdy fellow fig lovers and preservers, 

I am a student coming to you from Jacksonville Florida with a love for foraging. I am onto the figs which are beginning to ripen all around me in this humid month, early July. I harvested quite a few figs from a tree on campus a few days ago. I think they are Brown Turkey Figs but I cannot be totally sure of the variety.

I placed them in my dehydrator on the lowest setting 95 degrees for two days. I find that these figs aren't dried quite to my liking and they are nothing like the figs I find in the store. They shriveled up to half their original size and the outside is tough but not in a leathery, chewy way. The inside is still slightly moist. Honestly, I am giving up on this batch as I feel I am wasting electricity at this point and plan to store these in my refrigerator and eat them first.

I discovered another tree in my neighborhood just dripping with ripe figs and I am going to try a different setting for this batch. I have two concerns though. Part of me wants to do the raw foodie thing and not take the temperature above 115 degrees in order to preserve the natural, beneficial enzymes. On the other hand, I want the figs to last and have a lengthy shelf life which draws me to the standard I am finding all over the web of 130 degrees in a dehydrator. Does anyone on here have experience with drying figs at a low temperature (less then 115 degrees)?

My last attempt at a low temperature with whole figs was honestly not entirely successful in terms of desirability but I think cutting them up might alleviate that. A respected colleague of mine at the UNF Ogier Gardens, recommends cutting in half or quarters and placing in the dehydrator at 135 degrees for about 12-14 hours or util dry. He recommends drying until crunchy in order to get the water content below 10 percent which will prevent bacterial or fungal contamination. 

Despite my colleague's advice, I think I will try cutting and drying at 115 degrees to see what the quality is like since I cant find anywhere else on the internet which evaluates this method. Wish my luck! I will post pictures and comments once the figgies are dry!

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Mallory Schott
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Reply with quote  #10 
Mallory,
I dry them to the point you mentioned first ," inside still slightly moist" , then freeze them.
They don't seem to freeze very hard ,so you can just pull them out and eat what you want right away.
Mine kept well in the freezer , in a zip lock freezer bag ,for at least 9 months , until I ran out of them.
I'd "squirrel" away as may as possible if I had the chance.

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lampo

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Reply with quote  #11 
What sort of figs are you attempting to dry ?
Are they fruit of the first crop (Breba) ?? Brebas are not ideal for drying, in fact I think you cannot make it happen  !

The correct types for drying are the summer or main crop of certain varieties like ...

Dottato / Kadotta / Conadria / Adriatic / Black Mission,... etc which shall be available approx a month later

Here we dry figs under the Sun almost exclusively
Some fellows use very simple home made dryers.

Hope JSacadura chime in and tells of his gear and experience on the subject of drying figs

Am told that for a proper job and to let the fruit keep all its properties you should never let the drying temperature go above 65 to 70ºC


Francisco
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Reply with quote  #12 
Mallory-I have not tried the low temp but slicing them and drying at 130 makes a tasty treat. Like Kerry I advise storing them at lower temp, but I used the fridge instead of freezer. I have just 1 yr experience, though. Can't wait for this year's crop to ripen!
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Reply with quote  #13 
Hi everyone,

This will be my first post, though I have been lurking about for a while (mostly using the search function to find information) but I felt obliged to add my experience to this thread.

I have been drying figs in an Excalibur for about 5 years, and like Mallory I wanted to preserve the enzymes and other properties of the raw fruit. I cut the figs in half, or in thirds, depending on the size, and I set the dryer at around 105 to 110. It takes 24-36 hours to dry a batch, and they end up moist and soft and lovely. I just keep checking them for the right moisture content--still pliable but when you squeeze them there is no sense of moisture about to be pressed out. Sometimes I take some out and then put them back after they've cooled, because cooling them can change how they feel. If some are a little moister and others got a little too dry, when I put them into a glass storage container together, they seem to distribute any remaining moisture evenly among all contents of the jar.

They keep quite well in the glass jars--probably until the next harvest, But i can't prove that because my family always eats them within ten months or so. Last year I dried and stored 8 gallons of figs this way--English BT, Black Jack, VdB, Mission, even Panachee. They all tasted great (though the last was not my favorite dried, the skin seemed too chewy.)

I have had only one or two jars over the years get a little mold starting in them, probably because I left them too moist, so I make a point of inspecting the jars regularly when I first put them up.

I also dry and store peaches the same way.


And I will add my sincere thanks to all the forum participants for all the information you have compiled here. Splendid resource!



Carol
Chico CA 9a
frannymal21

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Reply with quote  #14 
Well, I am surprised and delighted to see so many responses on this post! 

After reading Fransico's post asking what type of figs I am attempting to dry and learning about the breba crop, I did some research through the local agriculture extension office, UF/IFAS. I found that in my area the Brown Turkey Fig is the most popular and well-suited. I am positive this is the cultivar I have been picking as I have a labeled tree for comparison at the UNF Gardens. This is my first time hearing of a breba crop of figs and I think this is the crop of figs I harvested as there are still small green figs on the tree in addition to the larger, ripe figs. I don't find that these figs are of poor quality though. They are sweet, delicious and seem fully ripened. IFAS points out, "a small crop of fruit in the Spring (called breba) ripens in July followed by the main crop one month later." So, at least in NE Florida and with the Brown Turkey variety, the breba crop is of similar quality just lesser quantity. This is actually great news as I am excited to continue foraging Florida for its' figs!

As far as drying the Brown Turkey Fig at 115 degrees, I got great results. Like Carol recommended, I sliced the figs in halves or fourths and then laid them out in my dehydrator. I left them in there at 115 degrees for about 28 hours when I decided they were dry enough. The figs came out mostly chewy but some are kinda crunchy. I enjoy their quality. However, according to an info page about Brown Turkey Figs on Figs4Fun, the Brown Turkey variety is not well suited for drying or preserving. The info page cites this quality over and over from a multitude of sources. Lastly, UF/IFAS didn't mention that this variety was poorly suited for dehydrating and I am not unhappy with their quality dried, they are chewy and sweet. I still find them delicious. 

For storage I will probably store them in a glass jar and like Ed and Kerry, I think I will use refrigeration to store them. As much as I like the idea of having the figs stored away in my pantry I think these will keep longer in the refrigerator. Plus I am fearful that they will begin to grow mold. It seems as though Carol is using a low temperature to dehydrate her figs and them storing them outside of refrigeration. I am curious to test how the shelf life of figs dehydrated at 115 degrees and versus 130 degrees is effected. Even though my last batch is very dry, I am nervous to store my figs in the pantry due to the varieties poor reputation as a drying type and because Florida is terribly humid!

I am very appreciative to everyone who took time to respond to my post. You helped me get to know the figs in my area a little bit better! Here are some photos to get you excited for when the crop comes in your area :)


What I started with - fresh Brown Turkey Figs.JPG 
fresh Brown Turkey Figs destined for the dehydrator

Brown Turkey Figs 115 degrees for 28 hours.JPG 

Brown Turkey Figs dehydrated at 115 degrees for 28 hours. 


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Mallory Schott
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Reply with quote  #15 
Mallory,

I have to congratulate you for your successful achievement of drying those BT brebas,   and they look delicious !! I shall have to try your method one day.

Just to illustrate what I said before about our dry figs,  here a few pictures of what they look like
(in Portugal figs meant for drying are not sliced at all)

P1070246.jpg 
P1070247.jpg 
P1070255.jpg 
A few strains of the variety Côtea, (a Common fig)  if left on the tree, will dry up gradually after full ripeness and become very sweet and  delicious fruit with very special flavors.


P1080114.jpg 
Francisco
Portugal


Jsacadura

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Reply with quote  #16 
Mallory,

What i use for drying figs and the end result can be seen on the end of this thread - http://figs4funforum.websitetoolbox.com/post/figo-preto-de-torres-novas-7586423?pid=1288725799

Good luck with your drying. You seem to be off to a good start.


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Jaime - Zone 9b - near Caldas da Rainha - Portugal
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rcantor

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Reply with quote  #17 
Welcome to the forum those of you who are new!

I dry mine at 95 degrees.  The excalibur has an unusual temperature profile.  It will go 15 degrees F above your set temp then 15 degrees below.  They say this helps prevent a skin barrier from forming so evaporation isn't hindered by that barrier.  Despite recommendations figs dried at 130 degrees real temp (which would be 115 in the excalibur, 130 elsewhere) taste cooked to me and I don't like that.  I always dry figs at 95 F.  I cut them cut in half or smaller.  I never stop when they're tacky.  They should be pliable without being able to slide one surface against the other.   The edges may be a little crisp.  They keep their fresh flavor much better at that temperature.  It's still not as good as fresh but much closer than anything I've ever bought.

I have no trouble drying breba or even rain soaked, waterlogged figs.  In fact if a fig is suffering from excess water drying them is the best way to get their flavor back.  I'll eat some before they're fully dry.

Also, great job searching!

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