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The tender skin of most figs is completely edible and rarely removed. Only figs with tough or marred skins require peeling before preserving or eating. Figs produce a latex-like sap near the stem end of the fruit that can irritate the skin. Whether you peel the entire fruit or not, you must remove this portion. While commercial growers use a chemical blanching method to quickly peel figs, in the home a knife is the only tool necessary.
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Wash the fig under cool water before peeling it. Wipe the fruit dry with a paper towel.
Lay the fig on its side on the cutting board. Cut off the stem with a sharp knife. Trim off all the white portions on the stem end, cutting into the fig until you reach the pulp.
Cut the fig in half, from the tip to the cut stem end. Lay each half with the pulp side down on the cutting board. Cut the halves to make quarters.
Hold a fig quarter in the palm of your hand. Slide your knife blade between the fruit and peel, gently paring the peel away from the fruit. Discard the peels.
Refrigerate the figs after peeling them if you aren't using them immediately.
If the latex in the fig irritates your skin, wear gloves when stemming and peeling the figs.