One of my favourite things to do is to pick up a fig from a fig tree and eat it straight away. I lucky to be able to do that a couple of times a year in Algarve. The fig trees are amazing, big, like a huge octopus, very flexible and holding hundreds of figs. And it doesn’t need much attention as much as I know neither lot of water.
But something that is even better, dried figs. I loved them when I was a kid during Christmas but the ones you can make with these natural figs, it is a totally different game.
This is how I have seen doing it. As the trees produce a lot of figs, you want to keep them somehow. If not, they will fall down and mainly wasted as even the birds and other animals can’t eat that much. So the ones you can’t eat, you leave them to dry outside. Algarve is very sunny so the nature will do that for you for free.
But I was told that you need to provide a final step. As the figs are outside, a lot of insects will feed from them. So in batches, clean them with water (they will hydrate a bit), then spread a bit of olive oil (just one/two tsp) and put them in a tray in the oven at 75C or so for 30 minutes. After that, use fresh fennel, whole threads of it, not just seeds or the bulb. That will keep insects away and give some anise flavour.
After that you can store them in a dry place (avoid sun light) for months!!!
Simple, natural, delicious.