How To Sun Dry Figs (Smokve)

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Post author SJ

Written by our local expert SJ

Sarah-Jane has lived in Croatia for 10+ years. SJ, as she is known, has been traveling the Balkans & beyond since 2000. She now shares her passion for traveling with her husband & kids.

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

Croatian Dalmatian Dried Figs
Croatian Dalmatian Dried Figs

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 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, you know… 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 day’s work, the treatment? Eat a fig. Do 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 they taste damn good when complete.

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?

Croatian Dalmatian Dried Figs

Sun Dry Figs Recipe (Smokve)

Here is how we dry figs in my village.


  • Figs
  • Bay leaves
  • Saltwater


  1. Pick and wash your figs (leave the stems on)
  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
  3. Turn your figs daily until they have dried to a gorgeous golden color. Each day press into the middle of the fig with your thumb to flatten them. Be sure to move them to remain in the sunshine at all times; the shade will cause them to spoil
  4. Once the figs are 100% dry and they are no longer sticky, place them in the deep freeze for a few days
  5. Rinse the figs in fresh seawater, then place them on a sheet in the sunshine. Cover with cheesecloth or similar (this stops the flies) and allow them to dry. Drying may take one or two days, depending on the sunshine
  6. Once fully dry, place into zip lock bags with bay leaves (or another airtight container) and store in a dark, cool place
  7. Enjoy as many as you like. But not too many... if you recall my earlier comment with regards to the fiber content...


Once dried, figs can be placed in a beautiful bag or box and become a wonderful 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. I absolutely LOVE figs, so sticky, so sweet, so heavenly…..have you tried my fig-jam recipe? I made quite a few jars last summer

    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

  2. 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.

  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. 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!

  5. 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.

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