Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

I dig figs!


msphoebe
 Share

Recommended Posts

I am at present enjoying some melba toasts spread lightly with a good cream cheese, and topped with 'Adriatic Fig Spread' that I picked up from Whole Foods. This fig spread is darn tasty!

Living in the midwest, figs aren't exactly a kitchen staple. So tell me...are the fresh figs in the grocery stores worth buying? Is there a certain season for fresh figs, or are they good year-round? Are they peeled before eating? Good raw or must they be cooked? And lastly, I'd appreciate any ideas on using them in a meal.

TIA

d

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh man, I love figs!

Right now (late summer to early fall) is when fresh figs are harvested, though dried figs are available year-round. I love to eat figs out of hand, but they are also great with braises and roasts, especially of lamb and pork.

I'm getting delicious ripe figs at the Farmers Market, but I don't know about the quality of figs at midwestern supermarkets. Sorry.

Cheers,

Squeat

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've always been fascinated by the variety of fig trees that grow locally (Eastern Shore of Md.). One friend's tree produces fruit that, when perfectly ripe, still has near-white flesh. Figs from another tree I visit contain deep crimson interiors and are the most delicious I've tasted. My dad's tree, on the other hand, produces figs with brown flesh that aren't very interesting. They are mildly sweet when very ripe, but that's about it.

I've noticed with his that there's a very small window to harvest figs when they are ripe enough but not so ripe that they've been overrun with wasps (which I think lay their eggs in them), bees, ants and fruit flies. Just today I observed a whole microcosm of activity on just one branch: three kinds of wasp, another odd black-and-white bee and two kinds of butterflies feeding on figs, and daddy longlegs hanging out in abundance.

What should I do with a bag of his figs, almost overripe? I was thinking fig preserves, just a quick batch to keep in the fridge.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What should I do with a bag of his figs, almost overripe? I was thinking fig preserves, just a quick batch to keep in the fridge.

Fig jam's nice. The best I ever made had cardomom and orange.

Just tonight we had figs for our pudding--I just cut them in half (they were really small or I'd've quartered them) and rolled them around in a mixture of honey and rosewater (about 1 1/2 T honey and 1 t rosewater. That was pretty tasty, and might also be nice flavors for jam.

If you should decide to can your preserves so as to keep them outside of the refrigerator, be sure to add some acid ingredient like oranges or limes, because figs aren't acid enough on their own to can in a boiling water bath.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know what varieties of fresh figs you get where you are.

But in Italy, where I am from, fresh figs come in th green (when fully ripe), "black" (actually a very dark purple), and purplish brown variety.

This last seems to be a bit of a cross between the first two, and not always very sweet. Its skin tends to be tougher too, so it's best to peel it off before eating.

The green and black variety usually have a very tender skin that doesn't need peeling off.

Figs should be eaten very ripe - and they should be ripened on the tree for the best flavour and sweetness.

Try them with prosciutto, or simply cut open and eaten in very fresh Italian bread - absolute heaven, and our typical picnic food back in Italy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oooh. That went right to my salivary glands. Would you mind sharing a recipe?

I made it long ago while visiting my father, who has fig trees. I think this would work:

1 qt chopped figs

2 C sugar

2 oranges--zest slivered and flesh chopped

6 cardamoms, de-husked and crushed

Just cook everything together till it becomes jam--about 220F if you want to use a cnady thermometer, or else till it looks right. If there are any seeds in the oranges, wrap them in a cheesecloth bundle and cook them in with the rest. When it's done, pack into hot jars and boiling water bathe for five minutes.

I made some fig-lime-ginger-jam that was good, too.

Edited by beccaboo (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I made it long ago while visiting my father, who has fig trees.    I think this would work: 

1 qt chopped figs

2 C sugar

2 oranges--zest slivered and flesh chopped

6 cardamoms, de-husked and crushed

Just cook everything together till it becomes jam--about 220F if you want to use a cnady thermometer, or else till it looks right.  If there are any seeds in the oranges, wrap them in a cheesecloth bundle and cook them in with the rest.  When it's done, pack into hot jars and boiling water bathe for five minutes.

I made some fig-lime-ginger-jam that was good, too.

Thanks so much. I keep thinking about smearing that on a piece of challah to break the Yom Kippur fast. :smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone, for the input. I envy those who can get really fresh figs...

I recently saw a recipe for a dried fig compote. Would you think dried figs could be found at either Whole Foods or Wild Oats? Certainly not in bulk??? Anybody ever use dried figs?

TIA

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I made some fig-lime-ginger-jam that was good, too.

Mmm, that sounds tasty. Any chance of a recipe for that one too?

"The dinner table is the center for the teaching and practicing not just of table manners but of conversation, consideration, tolerance, family feeling, and just about all the other accomplishments of polite society except the minuet." - Judith Martin (Miss Manners)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mmm, that sounds tasty. Any chance of a recipe for that one too?

Just like the other, but with a lime or two (depending on their size) in place of the orange, and a couple of tablespoons (or more) minced candied ginger in place of the cardamom. Jaust add the zest and juice of the limes, not the chopped pulp.

I think maybe we actually liked this better than the orange kind. I made them on the same day, and I remember we'd expected to like one better and were surprised that we preferred the other.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many Natural Food Stores sell dried figs in bulk and they're not terribly expensive. I've been getting them (organic ones) through my Food Coop which orders from United Natural Foods, usually in 5 or 10 lb. cartons. I've been making some chutneys with them like "Fig, apricot, raisin, with fresh mint, and ginger" No need to add sugar because the fruits are so sweet!

JANE

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was never much of a fig guy, but I saw some at the market not long ago that were so compelling I had to buy them. For dinner (for a gang of friends) I boiled down maybe a third of a bottle of red wine, some honey (you can adjust this to taste) and a couple of dashes of balsamic vinegar into a syrup. The served the figs split, with proscuitto, topped with a drizzle of the syrup. I'd never actually seen people wolf down figs like that.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've just finished roasting a pint of black mission figs: a small roasting pan covered with aluminum foil, a spritz of oil and the figs at 300 degrees for a LONG time until they are beginning to collapse (about 2+hours). The flavor has intensified and they are going into a spinach+nuts+goat cheese salad tomorrow. From the gods...

Use them before they are gone for the season!!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've just finished roasting a pint of black mission figs

I made roasted figs recently, from a recipe I got from the paper: roll the figs in olive oil, pepper, and coarse salt, then impale each with a small sprig of rosemary. Roast at high heat for about 15 minutes--till they've swelled up and look like they'll explode if you leave them in any longer. These made a nice snack for us to eat while playing cards.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dear God, these sound good. I've never had a fresh fig, and where I live, it likely won't happen.

I like dried figs, but I'm sure they don't even compare.

Where does one find fresh figs, and are they in season right now?

I'd like to know for future planning of vacations.

I don't mind the rat race, but I'd like more cheese.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Where does one find fresh figs, and are they in season right now?

I'd like to know for future planning of vacations.

I think fig season is winding down.

Figs seem to grow anywhere where it's temperate but doesn't get too cold--I know people who grow them here in Seattle, and I've read about growing them on south-facing walls in England--but they do better where it's hotter, like in California and Italy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

fig season is winding down down in southern california, though there are still some in the market. but last week i was up near uc davis at the wolfskill germplasm repository (MUCH more fun than it sounds) and they tried us out on about a dozen different figs from their collection. it was surprising how different they can be. my favorite was one called verte that had a light green peel but opened to a dark red, cooked-raspberry jam interior. great flavor. there was also a gorgeous fig called panache that was green and yellow vertical stripes on the skin and a pale raspberry interior. it also was very good. i was strangely unmoved by the violette du bordeaux, which i had always heard was the apogee of figdom. i think growing conditions might have had something to do with it.

one of my favorite recipes from "french fry" is a fig tart: simple crust, spread it with raspberry jam. split figs over top and then sprinkle with sugar you've ground in the food processor with a little lavender. bake it just until the crust browns and the figs begin to glaze. maybe i'll do that this weekend.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've just finished roasting a pint of black mission figs[.]

Reminds me that, at Esca in NYC a couple of weekends ago, I ate two grilled figs, which had been halved, EVOOed, and wood-grilled. Nuthin' else.

They tasted the way that food tastes in heaven.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One more fig idea:

Quarter some figs, and roll them around in a little red wine, honey, and black pepper.

Cut some seckel pears into sixths, and roll them in a dressing of lemon juice, walnut oil, salt, and mustard flour. Let the pears and figs soak while you fix the rest of dinner.

Candy some pumpkin seeds--cook them with a little sugar in a frying pan till the sugar's carmelized and the pumpkin seeds browned.

Just before serving, toss arugula and thinly sliced fennel in a dressing of pumpkin oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Lay it on a platter and arrange the figs and pears on top. Leave the pumpkin seeds in their own dish, to be sprinkled on just before eating.

I made this for a party last night, and everyone really liked it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...