Find the most important etiquette rules on how to serve and eat figs and tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest at the dining table.

how to serve and eat figs

What figs etiquette is

Figs etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat figs. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect your hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow figs etiquette to appropriately serve them to your guests.

If you are a guest, respect figs etiquette rules to properly eat and enjoy them.

What you should know about figs

A fig is a fruit from the eponymous tree. Figs grow all around the world. The major producers are the Mediterranean countries. 

Figs are round or oval in shape. Their skin is soft, green to dark purple in color. The core is soft, light red in color, and contains many small edible seeds. Figs are very sweet in flavor, with a rich aroma.  

Etiquette tips to serve and eat figs

1) How to store figs

Figs are very delicate and have a short shelf life. Thus, it is best to eat them within 1 or 2 days of buying them.

Store whole figs out of the fridge if they are not ripe. Store them in a cool place. Away from sources of heat or direct light. Keep them there for 1 to 3 days, until they ripen.

Store ripe figs in the fridge. Avoid placing them in a sealed container. Do not wrap them in plastic. They will last about 7 days.

In the freezer, figs will last for 10 or 12 months.

2) How to clean figs

Always wash an uncut fig before eating it or slicing it. Even a quick wash decreases the risk of contamination from pesticides or other chemicals. 

Place the figs in a bowl of water. Leave them there for 5 to 10 minutes. Then, wash them under running water. Dry them on a kitchen cloth. Ripe figs can be very soft and delicate. Handle the fruits with care.

3) How to prepare figs

You can keep or remove the skin. Usually, for cooking, it is best to discard it. Remove the skin with a knife. Then, slice the fruit into chunks and use. 

Due to their sweet taste and aroma, figs go well in savory dishes. Add them to salads, charcuterie, or cheese plates. Bake them in desserts or make jams.

4) How to serve & present figs

You can serve figs for breakfast, as a snack, or as a fruit course after a meal. 

If you serve them whole, present them washed, in a serving bowl. If you serve them in chunks, present sliced figs with a serving spoon. Alternatively, you can serve figs in small individual cups. You can either remove or keep the skin. 

Serve figs at room temperature. Take them out of the fridge between 1 and 2 hours before serving. 

5) Food and wine to pair figs with

The aroma of figs matches well with many flavors. Balsamic vinegar. Honey. Cinnamon. Cardamom. Thyme. Rosemary. 

Figs can go well with savory dishes. Match them with pork meat, such as Prosciutto Crudo, ham, or Soppressata. Serve figs to accompany a cheese platter. Many kinds of cheese combine well with figs. Manchego. Pecorino. Asiago. Emmental. Fontina. Scamorza. Stilton.

Add figs to fruit salads. Combine them with apples, oranges, peaches, nectarines, or melons. Berries such as blackberries or raspberries. They pair well with nuts too. Such as almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts.

Pair figs with Prosecco, Pinot Grigio, or Rosé wine.

6) How to eat figs

When figs are served whole, place one on your plate. Eat it with a fork and knife. You can either eat or discard the skin. 

Eat a whole fig in bites only on very informal occasions. 

If the figs are served in chunks or slices, eat them with a fork. 

Figs etiquette: the worst mistakes

Avoid the worst figs etiquette mistakes. 

  • 8/10. Serving spoiled or overripe figs.
  • 8/10. Serving unwashed figs.
  • 7/10. Eating figs in bites on formal occasions.
  • 7/10. Serving unripe figs.

Additional information for properly serving figs

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and to correctly plan a menu.

Figs contain 74 calories per 100 grams. A single raw fig weighs around 50 grams and contains around 37 calories.

How to buy the best figs

A crucial factor in figs etiquette is to serve the best product possible to your guests.

Season and availability 

In the northern hemisphere, the season for figs starts in August and goes on until October. 

Choose the best

Ripe figs look plump and feel soft. If the smell is sour or foul, figs are likely over-ripe.