Fig. 101: What is the White Powder on Dried Figs

What is the white powder on dried figs—learn more about sugaring on figs. Valley Fig Growers is your go-to source for premium dried figs. Photo by Sandi Gaertner

If you’ve ever wondered, what is the white powder on your Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Dried Figs, you might think it’s mold, but more likely, it’s actually naturally occurring fruit sugar crystals. This common occurrence is called sugaring on figs. The process sometimes happens in exceptionally sweet dried figs. It happens when the natural fruit sugars crystallize on the surface and appears as white powder on dried figs.

Sugaring on Figs

These natural fruit sugars are edible. Eating sugared dried figs isn’t harmful nor does it affect the quality of the fruit—in fact, some people seek out sugared dried figs, preferring the instant hit of sweetness and light delicate crunch they add to the dried fig-eating experience.

How to Use Them

You can easily eliminate the natural sugar coating if desired with a light wash in warm water to dissolve the sugar when you are ready to eat them. Or, the sugar can be transformed into a delicate glaze, heating the figs in a low temperature oven for a few minutes. Use sugared dried figs in prepared dishes and the figs’ natural sugar crystals will dissolve while baking or being cooked. Or, try this handy tip: place 1/2 cup dried figs in a microwave-safe dish and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of water. Cover loosely and heat for one minute in the microwave.

Interested in using your sugared dried figs in cooking or baking? We’ve got a few ideas to get you started.  One thing to think about especially when it comes to baking is that those sugar crystals on the outside of the dried figs will cook down so you might want to skip cakes, quick breads, or muffins that require the precision of the baking recipes for an optimum experience.

Baking with Sugared Figs

Cooking with Sugared Figs

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