Turkish dried figs, why so good?

fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TXJuly 22, 2011

The best dried fruit I've ever eaten has been dried Turkish figs. I know they are another, possibly higher quality type fig. But why are the dried figs so good?

My theory is that they are grown without irrigation in a wet winter, dry summer climate. This gives a long period of increasing water deficit as the crop grows and matures. With some fruit, stone fruit for instance, a water deficit for 60 to 90 days before maturity can increase brix by 10 points or more.

What do you think of my theory?

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Your theory is interesting.
My sure fact is that,the Turkish figs are harvested when ripe naturally by people.
They have to harvest every week or so till all are harvested.
In our corporate world ,the fig orchard are sprayed with a chemical,from the helicopter,and this chemical makes all figs to turn color and get ripe,at once, but the fruits that were getting ripe while immature when sprayed,never develop sweetness and flavor.
Of course the corporate method cost much less, in,men hour labor.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 6:41PM
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girlbug2(z9/10, Sunset zone 24)

Interesting Herman, I never knew that about fig orchards.

On a side note, arent' other varieties other than "turkish" figs harvested the old fashioned way? My uncle did several watercolor paintings back in the '70s and '80s of migrant workers harvesting figs in California.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 1:16AM
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Girl Bug:Yes they are harvested today by hand too,using cheep Mexican labor,which is nothing wrong about it,except:
The fruits are harvested in one pass by using the spraying I described before,and not every week for 5 weeks,as it would be necessary if chemical method was not used.
This procedure is used for other fruit crops too,in order to minimize labor cost.
Harvesting manually does not help,with flavor and taste,if fruits are not left to get ripe naturally without use of chemical tricks.
This is as clear as it can be described.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 12:26PM
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The spray application is done only for second crop.
It hasten the ripening of second crop,and loosen the peduncle so when the tree shaker is used they all fall down in the net basket.
So:Main crop is not harvested by hand.
Main crop are the fruits they dry.
Breba crop is not sprayed and is collected by hand by Mexican laborer.
The problem is ,they are told to remove the Breba fruits slightly unripe to last on the shelf.
That is why ,My 2 dozen fresh California Brown Turkey Breba were inedible tasteless ,when I bought them last month in the Costco supermarket.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 12:42PM
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pgde(Tucson Zone 9)

Okay, suppose we harvest the figs at the correct time by hand, etc., the question is still open as to why the Turkish figs are quite tasty when dried.....

    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 6:40PM
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This statement I make is also true:
My Marseilles vs Black ,grown here in NJ,when dried in my Dehydrator are quite tasty,much tastier than the Turkish dried figs,or any other figs bought from commerce.
Why:Because they are freshly dried ,the cultivar has ,a lot of sugar and berry flavor,and the fruits were totally naturally ripe when placed to dry.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 8:21PM
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pgde:Why turkish dried figs so good:Because they were put in dehydrator totally,and naturally ripe.
Figs become tasty and flavorful ,in the last 3 days before they are totally ripe.
If harvested 4 days before ripe and dried,they taste like cardboard!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 8:33PM
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bonsaist(Z6/ Bethlehem, Pa)

I know that Many fig orchard in CA allow the figs to dry right on the tree and drop. Then they're picked up by machine, cleaned and packaged. I'm not sure if it's done the same way in Turkey.
Here's a video on how it's done.


Here is a link that might be useful: Fig drying video

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 2:27PM
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O Yes Bass !!!!???:The whole main crop get ripe at once,and abra cadabra they fall to ground all at once and so The sweeper come and get them.
Man that is a miracle indeed,knowing how main crop fig get ripe one by one from middle Summer till frost.
You and your video people forgotten to add that in order for them to fall down at once "ripe or not",the science comes in with a chemical called "abscission agent" and once sprayed on the orchard all of a sudden all fruits fell on ground.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 5:45PM
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I watched the video. It was mentioned in that video they fall to the ground over a period of several weeks .

I emailed them .

Hi i saw your company video on you tube.

What i would like to know is if you company uses any type of spray to hasten the ripening of the figs or do they ripen and dry on the tree naturally then fall to ground to be processed.



Dear Martin,

Figs ripen on the tree naturally and dry in the hot sun. They then fall to the ground where there are harvested.

Thank you,


Valley Fig Growers - Growers' Store

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 12:02PM
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Yes Martin I bought once figs from Them.
I bought 5 pounds with the intention to buy regularly every year,but the sooner I tasted the fruits I never bought again.
Why:Well this is not because they did not taste good,but for other very serious reason.
If you want to find out order some.
I also lived in California 5 years and I harvested my own ripe figs ,and I can tell you they are just as good as turkish figs when properly ripe.
In fact Mission figs,in California, when properly ripe,and dried, are much better tasting than Turkish figs.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 1:01PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

To return to the original question. Does anyone think that dry weather, ie a water deficit during growth of the fig, can increase fig fruit quality?

My limited experience with figs suggests that too much water results in big soft figs that are less sweet. If the fruit is dried, maybe it doesn't matter as much.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 1:53PM
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Water deficit,at the stagnant fruit stage,in the growing season,produces bad figs,tasteless.
Too much water after the stagnant stage,when fruits start swelling produces watery bad fruits,that do not last on shelf at all,and will sour immediately after harvest.
That is why Fig tree can be grown in many places privately but very few places in the world have the right climate,to grow them successfully and have a good profit doing it.
Central Ca is a good place to grow highest quality fruits to compete against any other country,if corners are not cut,with the harvesting and drying process.
So far it seem that Turkey does not cut corners,tho to be honest,I do remember when I bought round Turkish boxes of dried figs,I found in the box that every third fruit about, was dried well but tasteless,because it was harvested unripe.
You see I really like Fig fruits and consume them of all kinds,Fresh dried ,fig jam,fig in syrop,California figs Turkish figs,etc.
I wish we could import Portuguese Spanish and Italian figs but I never found them for sale.
You see ,as for example Spanish figs might be superior to all figs sold here because They grow Col de Dame black for fresh market,and Col de Dame white for dried figs.
Being fortunate to have been tasted,a few , Col de Dame ripe figs I can imagine how good the dried Spanish,Col de Dame white,or properly ripe, fresh Col de Dame black would taste.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 3:28PM
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Hi Fruitnut,
you mention
My limited experience with figs suggests that too much water results in big soft figs that are less sweet. If the fruit is dried, maybe it doesn't matter as much.

I grow in containers and to little water and too much at wrong time no good yes.
I have seen that in past when mine were getting ripe and we had record 9 inch rainfall one weekend. For first time saw a few hardy chicago actually split and most all of my el sals split.The few that "did not split" were tasteless.

Fruitnut i notice your in nicer climate than me near chcago, one day maybe when you get lots of figs try drying a few for fun in your Texas sun . ; )

One season i was able to dry some hardy chicago and sals figs in my backyard on a cheesecloth covered board and some roma plum tomatoes which were lightly sprinkled with sea salt.
Best dry figs i ever tasted that lasted into January when last where eaten shown in this picture.
The Roma's had a roasted taste to them and were very nice treat as well in a sopressatta sandwhich with asiago cheese and olive oil.

Here Fruitnut is picture of figs with skin on and on bottom with skin peeled before drying.
I may dry a few this season depending on weather when they ripen.Those imported figs from Greece were not good by the way.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 5:20PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

The Turkish dried figs are very large and moist. Sometimes they are bad with a fermented taste. If you get a good batch they are better than the black missions I've had from CA.

The outside of the figs are almost white with crystallized sugars. My understanding, perhaps wrong, is that these figs must be manipulated by hand during drying perhaps to avoid the fermentation during drying. Based on the size of the dried product, the figs must be very large on the trees.

These figs are potted in my greenhouse. Fruit from potted nectarine and pluot are usually sweeter than in-ground trees. The pot effect is either less water or less vigor of the tree.

Here is a link that might be useful: turkish dried figs

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 8:18PM
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