On your pantry shelf at home, those California Dried Figs are many things—snack or an ingredient for baking or cooking…or the catalyst to make fig vodka. Have you ever thought about rehydrating dried figs? When you rehydrate figs, you not only plump up the harvest-picked fruit, but introduce flavor in a deeper way. Here’s how to rehydrate dried figs.
Did you know there are more than 1200 varieties of figs in the world? So, the first thing to think about is what the fig type brings to the baked good you’re trying to concoct. Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Dried Figs and Blue Ribbon California Dried Figs are sun-ripened on the branches to harvest perfection. It’s hard to truly describe how our premium dried figs stand apart from others in the market, which is why we suggest trying them to taste the difference. They are not the desiccated type that far too often dried fruit and fig lovers think of when thinking of dried figs. Instead, you will find a supple texture to them…perfect for eating out of the bag or for rehydrating.
Make Them Your Mission
Mission Dried Figs yield that dark jammy fig flavor so familiar with the dried fruit. They pair well with dark and milk chocolate, red wine, woody herbs, hearty nuts, and bolder companion flavors. Or, think of autumn spices to create a zesty fig vodka.
Get into Golden
Golden Dried Figs offer a more subtle sweetness and delicate nuttiness. These amber-toned figs can go anywhere a dried apricot or sultana has been… and offer something a bit different! They pair well with white chocolate, rose or white wine, vanilla, and citrus. Use Golden Figs for a softly nuanced DIY fig vodka.
Ready to Rehydrate
There are different ways used for rehydrating dried figs. Also known as steeping or infusing, you can go with a hot infusion or cold infusion.
Most of the recipes we have that rehydrate dried figs use the hot infusion method. This involves bringing heating a liquid and then pouring it over the dried figs. They are set aside to steep for a specific amount of time and this does several things. First, the hot temperature helps soften the skin and outside of the figs, making them more penetrable. Then, the liquid is absorbed into the figs. This is such a great sneaky way to amplify the flavor in a final bake or in cooking because the entire fruit is redolent with the taste of the liquid mingling in the figs.
Another way rehydrating dried figs happens with hot liquids is by cooking them in a scented liquid. Chef Joanne Weir uses this technique in several of the recipes she has created for us.
A cold infusion for rehydrating figs does not rely upon high temperatures, but instead requires more time to do the subtle work of imbuing the flavors of fig into a liquid (try this with heavy cream to use in fig ice cream or in a ganache).
Lastly, you have counter infusions that are not specific to cold or hot temperatures and largely revolve around alcohol. You can make a bespoke fig vodka (or chai-spiced fig rum) so easily at home. Here the alcohol breaks down the dried fruit walls faster yielding a quicker infusion or one that takes longer for a deeper flavor. Try it for yourself to make custom cocktails, boozy truffle centers, DIY gifts, or more.