Croatian Recipe: How To Sun Dry Figs (Smokve)

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Croatian Recipe: How To Sun Dry Figs (Smokve)

Soon the sweet smell figs will fill Dalmatia and many other parts of Croatia.

When the trees are full and many figs have fallen onto the ground, you know, it’s time to start drying figs ready for winter. Another vital sign is when you see passers-by eating the plump figs being eaten directly from the trees as they talk an afternoon wander.

A fig (known as smokva in Croatia.) can be eaten all year round. Fresh from the trees in summer, and if you forward plan and dry your figs, you can eat them in autumn, winter, and in spring.

Back home in Australia, I do not know of a single Croatian, who does not have a fig tree – or at least know of someone who does. For me, whenever I think about a fig tree, it always reminds me of Croatia. It also reminds me of the thing that you help you do number 2’s. Figs you see are HIGH in fiber, so please don’t eat too many. That is unless, of course, you need to… if you get my drift.

There are loads of different species, and in our family, each person has their favorite one. Some like the sweet ones, and others, the more tart. Either way, from the month of May right through until September, you can snack on a fresh fig till your heart is content. But, in August you must start to dry them ready for other times of the year.

Figs, like many things here in Croatia, serve more than one purpose. If you have a sore throat, the cure? Eat a fig. You’re tired from a hard days work, the cure? Eat a fig. You have a skin irritation, the cure? Rub a fig on it. Who needs a pharmacy when you have Croatian cures?

They don’t look pretty as they dry and shrivel up, but many agree that they taste damn good when complete.

Croatian Dalmatian Dried Figs
Croatian Dalmatian Dried Figs

Alternatively, you can make fig jam and spreads or make a fresh fig tart. I am looking for an excellent fig recipe, do you have one?

How to dry figs

Step 1 – Pick and wash your figs (leave the stems on)

Step 2 – Place your figs on a wooden or wire rack in the Dalmatian sunshine (actually any sunshine will do). Be sure that the figs have airflow from above and below. This is critical.

Step 3 – Turn your figs daily until they have dried to a gorgeous golden color. Be sure to move them to remain in the sunshine at all times; the shade will cause them to spoil.

Step 4 – Once the figs are 100% dry, and they are no longer sticky, add them together with bay leaves in freezer bags and place in the deep freeze.

Step 5 – Enjoy as many as you like. But not too many… if you recall my earlier comment with regards to the fiber content.

Step 6 – Once dried, figs can be placed in a beautiful bag or box and become a homemade gift.


Do you like dried figs? Do you have a fig recipe you care to share? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to hear from you.

More Tasty Croatian Recipes


Comments (10)

  1. Recently visited Croatia and fell in love with its food and culture. I wonder why they put bay leaves with the dried figs?

    1. I was wondering the same thing about the bay leaves i just got a shrug form my pal when she brought me a big bag of these beauties and bay leaves from Croatia that her parents prepared (sea water method)and i just got a shrug. oh well when i’m not eating them i open the bag and just enjoy the aroma.

  2. You should be a part of a contest for one of the finest blogs on the internet.

    I most certainly will highly recommend this blog!

  3. addition to drying figs (that’s how they do it here in svinisce).
    after drying them the normal way, they drop them in seawater (in an out again), and dry again in the sun.
    when dry again, once more a splash & dash in seawater, and again dry in the sun/wind.
    no need to freeze them, put them in firm paper bags, indeed with them bay leaves and store in dry place.
    seems those two times in salty water keeps bugs from eating them before you want to, but for sure that thin film of salt does the magic !!
    if you want to dry larger amounts of fruits, a sun powered dryer (to build) is a possibility (it’s on my to-do-list), faster an more controllable.

    1. YES! That is how the other half of the family did it, they taste a little better this way if you ask me.

  4. I do love figs! I had no idea that it was a “miracle cure” however, that is great! I will have to try that whenever I’m not feeling well 😉 Great blog, glad I found it.

    1. Glad you found me Anwar. There is a food cure for most things here in Croatia. Including an alcoholic beverage for a tummy ache… Hope to see you here again.

    1. Ohhhhh no Fig Jam, just loads of dried ones. Bugger, too late now. Can I reblog this recipe to those who may want it as it sounds yummy? xx

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