How to Dry Fresh Black Mission Figs?
In the dry warm climates where figs are produced commercially, the figs are allowed to partially dry on the trees. To sun dry small quantities at home, wash the figs, cut away any imperfections and cut fruit in half lengthwise. Line the bottoms of well-ventilated boxes, wire racks or sheets of screening with a double layer of cheesecloth. Arrange a single layer of fruit in each so that pieces are not touching and set in full sun elevated several inches above the ground. Cover with tuille netting, tightly tucking the netting underneath the rack or screening to keep out insects.
If the nighttime temperature does not drop more than 20 degrees below the noontime temperature and the night air remains dry, racks may be left outdoors. Otherwise, it is advisable to dry figs indoors.
Turn the figs each morning. When the pieces are reduced in size and the skins are leathery, cut one open. If the inside is just slightly sticky, the figs should be heat-treated by placing in an oven at 110 to 115 degrees F for about 2 hours if they are to be stored for very long. Then, cool and place in airtight containers and store in a cool, dry place or place in tightly closed plastic bags and store in the freezer.
In more humid climates, oven drying is recommended. Wash the figs, cut away any imperfections and cut fruit in half lengthwise. Arrange a single layer of fruit on foil-lined baking sheets so that pieces are not touching and place in oven set at lowest temperature, 110-115 degrees F. Leaving oven door ajar and turning heat off and on to avoid heating figs above 135 degrees F keep figs in oven or dry at intervals turning them occasionally until they are reduced to about 1/4 their fresh weight. Cool and store immediately in airtight containers in a cool, dry place or place in plastic bags and store in the freezer.
When using a dehydrator, wash and cut the figs into 1/4-inch slices, discarding ends and any imperfections. Arrange on screens and place in dehydrator with the temperature set at 110-115 degrees F for 12 to 24hours, turning when dry enough not to tear and again before completely dry. Check dryness according to taste, but dry enough to prevent mold. When properly dried, figs are pliable but not wet, Cool before using or storing in airtight containers in a cool, dry place or in plastic bags in the freezer.