Over 150 varieties of figs are grown worldwide, including brown/purple and green/yellow skinned varieties.
Well-known varieties are Brown Turkey, Adriatic and Genoa. Figs have edible seeds and skin. Flavours range from delicate to sweet and honey-like, and the flesh can be pale pink/brown to crimson and amber in colour. Figs ripen from summer to autumn and are available at farmers’ markets and fruit stores.
Choose plump figs that are ripe but not mushy. Fine cracks may develop in the skin when fully ripe.
Figs are very fragile when ripe. Store in empty cardboard egg cartons to prevent bruising. Refrigerate and use within two to three days.
Figs are a source of fibre and contain small amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
There is nothing that beats eating a ripe fresh fig but they are also superb used in salads, desserts, baking, chutneys, jam and eaten with blue cheese.
- Make a quick salad with quartered ripe figs, prosciutto
- or ham, goats’ cheese, rocket and toasted walnuts or hazelnuts. Dress with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
- Roast figs with brown sugar and orange juice. Serve with vanilla ice-cream or low-fat yoghurt.
- Poach figs in red wine vinegar and sugar syrup with lemon peel, black peppercorns and star anise to serve with game meats or roasted duck.
- Make a fig frangipane tart to serve with coffee.
- To dry figs, poach in a sugar syrup with added malt vinegar. Drain and place in a dehydrator to dry.
- Wrap a chunk of goats’ cheese in a fig leaf and bake or barbecue. Serve on toasted sourdough bread with fresh figs drizzled with runny honey.
- Try this recipe idea: Roasted fig, beetroot, walnut and goats’ cheese salad
Did you know? Figs are mentioned in the Bible and are said to pre-date wheat and barley by one thousand years.