How to Make Figs Ripen

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Well-managed growing conditions help figs ripen properly.
Well-managed growing conditions help figs ripen properly. (Image: Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Ancient records show the Sumerians and Assyrians in southern Arabia knew of figs and the fruit appears in the Bible as well. Figs are a nutritional powerhouse, with a low fat content and high fiber, calcium and iron. Grown properly, fig trees are extremely prolific and can produce hundreds of fruits. Figs do not continue ripening after they're removed from the tree, however.

Things You'll Need

  • Olive, vegetable or mineral oil
  • Cotton swab
  • 8-8-8 fertilizer

Plant fig trees in full sun.

Water frequently enough to keep the fig tree's soil moist, but not waterlogged. Fig trees will not produce fruit if dehydrated, although waterlogged soil can lead to spoiled fruit.

Fertilize the fig tree in late winter or early spring with an 8-8-8 fertilizer. Apply 1 lb. for each year of the tree's age, maxing out at 10 lbs. for trees 10 years or older.

Practice oleification, or the application of oil, on green figs. Rub several drops of olive, vegetable or mineral oil onto the eye of green figs, which has been shown to ripen fruit faster, compared to figs that haven't been subjected to oleification. Use a cotton swab to apply the oil and avoid rubbing it on any other part of the fig.

Tips & Warnings

  • Oleification should not be done too early or too late. Pick an older, green fig off of the tree and cut it open to check for signs of pink pulp. If you see pink, you can proceed with oleification on the other figs.

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