How Are Figs Dried Commercially?

Figs have been cherished for centuries for their rich flavor, unique texture, and numerous health benefits. While fresh figs are a seasonal delight, dried figs offer a convenient and delicious way to enjoy this fruit year-round. Dried figs undergo a meticulous process to preserve their flavor, texture, and nutritional value. But how are figs dried commercially?


  1. Harvesting:

The process begins with the selection of fig varieties that are best suited for drying. Figs destined for drying are typically harvested when they are fully ripe but still firm enough to withstand processing.


  1. Sorting and cleaning:

Once harvested, the figs undergo sorting to remove any damaged or defective fruits. This is crucial to ensure a consistent quality in the final product. Next, the figs are thoroughly cleaned to remove any dirt, debris, or pesticide residues.


  1. Pre-treatment:

Some commercially dried figs undergo pre-treatment processes to enhance their color, flavor, and shelf life. This may involve dipping the figs in a solution of water and food-grade chemicals like potassium carbonate or potassium sorbate. Alternatively, they may be steam blanched to soften the skin and improve drying efficiency.


  1. Drying:

The most critical stage in the process is drying. There are several methods employed commercially:

Sun drying: Traditionally, figs were dried in the sun, spread out on trays or mats in open fields. While this method is still used in some regions, it’s less common in commercial operations due to its dependency on weather conditions and potential contamination risks.

Drying machine: Most commercial fig drying operations now use mechanical drying methods such as dehydrators or ovens. These machines control temperature and humidity levels to ensure uniform drying without compromising flavor or nutritional content. The figs are spread out on trays and subjected to controlled heat until they reach the desired moisture content, usually around 20-25%.


  1. Conditioning and packaging:

After drying, the figs undergo a conditioning period where they are allowed to cool and equilibrate moisture levels. This step is crucial for preventing mold growth and ensuring the figs remain pliable. Once conditioned, the figs are packaged in airtight containers or bags to preserve freshness and prevent moisture absorption.


  1. Quality control:

Throughout the entire process, stringent quality control measures are in place to ensure that only the finest figs make it to market. This includes regular inspections for defects, monitoring of drying conditions, and testing for moisture content.


There are many ways to dry figs. When choosing a drying method, you need to consider whether it meets the processing requirements and the processing effect.

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