When you are picking fresh figs, either from your own trees or from the produce section, look beyond the perfectly formed figs to those that appear slightly wrinkled. These have the most zippy flavor and sweet taste. Hold a fig in your hand to see how heavy it is. Ripe and flavorful figs will feel heavy, while dry figs will feel light. Prepare fresh figs simply for a tasty treat.
Place the fresh figs into the colander and run cool water over them. Rub the figs briskly with your hands to wash them.
Set the figs on the cutting board. Cut the stems from the tops of the figs by slicing straight across the tops with the paring knife.
Remove the peels with the paring knife, if you desire, removing as little fig pulp as possible as you remove the skin.
Slice the figs in half from top to bottom. Place the halved figs onto the cutting board with the flat side down and slice into half-inch-wide slices. Store figs covered in the refrigerator until serving time, making sure to eat them as soon as possible, whether in a fruit salad or alone.
Store leftover whole fresh figs in the refrigerator for up to three days. Line a shallow container with paper towel and place the figs on the paper towel. Cover the container with plastic wrap.