Fig season is like pre-Fall  in the fashion world, a tasty little teaser that helps bridge the gap between Summer and Autumn. Perhaps it's partly because the season is so fleeting that this fruit tastes so sweet, but when figs are just right, they taste downright sinful. When people tell me they don't like figs , I say, they just haven't had a good one yet.
This soft, fleshy fruit with a thick but edible skin comes in many colors and forms. In North America, the most common types  are Mission figs, Brown Turkey, and Brunswick, which have dark skin and a pink-purple middle; Calimyrna, the green-and-pink beauties like the fig pictured above; and Kadota, another green-skinned variety.
Keep reading to learn how to select fresh figs, and how to prepare them.
When buying figs, choose fruits that are firm but not hard, with a slight amount of give. Pick figs that feel juicy and rich, rather than dry, and be sure to handle them gingerly until you're ready to eat them, as they bruise easily. They are delicious on their own, but figs also play nicely against salty cheeses and cured meats. Here are some recipes to try:
- Wrap them in prosciutto for figs in a blanket  hors d'oeuvres.
- Poach them  for an elegant but simple dessert.
- Smash them into panini with nut butter and banana .
- Use them as a sweet topper for a salty pizza .
- Bake them in a fig and goat cheese scone .
Check out even more of our favorite fig recipes . How do you plan to cook with figs this season?
Photo: Nicole Perry