My Figs Are Brown Inside: Are They Safe to Eat?

Many people love figs, but these fruits sometimes confuse people. They are one of the less commonly seen fruits, and if you aren’t sure what a ripe fig looks like, you might be concerned by how the inside appears.

Figs are usually a deep red color inside, and this can appear brown or almost black in places when the fig is very ripe. On the whole, it is not a sign that anything is wrong with the fig – but like many fruits, a fig will start to turn brown and mushy when it goes off, so be cautious of brown spots.

We’re going to explore how you can tell whether a fig is safe to eat or not, and what figs should look like when you cut them open. This will help you to determine when to throw a fig away.

What Makes Figs Brown Inside?

figs

Figs should generally be a deep red inside, although this can differ between varieties, and some are paler than others. A ring of white flesh will usually surround the red part, which looks meaty and is flecked with the fig’s seeds. If any part of this has gone brown, you might be wondering why – and here are a few potential explanations:

  • The fig has got bruised
  • The fig is particularly ripe
  • The fig has got chilled
  • The fig is overripe and going off

We’re going to look at each of these in more detail so you can determine whether they apply to your figs and whether that means the figs are okay to consume.

The Fig Is Bruised

Lots of fruits go brown when they are bruised, and this includes figs. This is because many fruits contain an enzyme known as polyphenol oxidase. This enzyme is contained within the fruit’s cells and is not exposed to oxygen – until the cells are damaged in some way.

When the cells are damaged, this enzyme comes into contact with the air and with oxygen, and this causes it to react and start condensing into brown spots. These appear like a bruise around the area where the damage occurred.

Oxidization can happen when you just cut a fruit, or when the fruit gets knocked about. If the fig has been damaged during transport or if you have bumped it during the purchasing process, a bruise will likely start forming on the inner white flesh. It may sometimes spread into the red flesh too, but often this is too dark to easily see the brown discoloration.

Figs, unfortunately, bruise very easily, and even stacking them in a deep layer can be enough to damage the flesh. You should treat figs carefully, and only choose specimens that show no signs of blemishes on their skins in the store. This will minimize the risk of bruises appearing and should mean that there are no brown spots inside.

The Fig Is Very Ripe

Sometimes, the dark red areas can look brown when the fig is ripe. This happens for the same reason – the enzymes within the figs are starting to oxidize as they are gradually exposed to oxygen. You may not be able to see this clearly, but it can happen.

If it has occurred, you should gently touch the darker area to see whether its texture is still firm, or if it has gone noticeably squishy and slimy. Figs are always soft, but if the ripeness has turned into decay, you should be able to feel the difference between healthy flesh and rotting flesh.

You should make efforts to eat a fig quickly if you discover that it is ripe enough for the red flesh to be darkening. This is a sure sign that it will not last much longer.

The Fig Got Chilled

If a fig has been frozen, it is very likely to have dark brown patches inside, and possibly on the outside of its skin. Freezing, like other forms of damage, often bursts the cell walls – and this again triggers the oxidization process.

Even if the fig has been nowhere near your freezer, it may have been chilled too much during transit. Freezing will generally leave brown flecks throughout the fruit, rather than in one localized area, like a bruise.

You can safely eat a fig that has been damaged by freezing, but you may find that the texture is mushy, and some of the flavor may have gone from it.

The Fig Is Too Ripe

Sometimes, brown spots signify that your fig has gone past the point of ripeness and is starting to decay. If this has happened, the flesh will be very soft in that area (since figs are already soft), and it will no longer be safe to consume.

You can tell if this is the case by smelling the fig and checking its texture. Figs that have started to go off usually have a strong and somewhat alcoholic scent, because the sugars will have begun to ferment. This indicates that there are bacteria in the flesh, and these could be harmful if they are ingested – so don’t eat the fig.

It can be difficult to tell whether a fig has gone off from its texture since they are such soft fruits anyway, but you should also check the texture. Gently press the dark area with your finger. If it is sticky, slimy, mushy, or otherwise feels “bad,” it is no longer safe to consume.

Taste can be a final sign of decay. The taste of a decaying fig is usually acidic instead of sweet, which is a sure indication the fig shouldn’t be eaten. Spit out the part that you have tasted and throw the rest of the fig away.

Conclusion

Brownness is often difficult to see inside figs because the insides are already quite dark. However, if you can see it, it is likely to be the result of bruising, or a sign that the fig is too ripe and has started to go off. Use your other senses, such as smell and touch, to check whether the fig is still okay to eat.

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for over five years! I've set up this blog because I'm passionate about veganism and living a more spiritually fulfilling life where I'm more in tune with nature. Hopefully, I can use Vegan Foundry as a channel to help you out on your own journey!