The Fig

October 27, 2014

“There was a flower that flowered inward, womb-ward;
Now there is a fruit like a ripe womb.”
— D. H. Lawrence, “Fig”

Bowl of figs

Bowl of figs

Watercolor sketch of figs

Watercolor sketch of figs

Watercolor sketch of figs

Watercolor sketch of figs

I have never eaten nor cooked with fresh figs.  Any advice?


8 Responses to “The Fig”

  1. shoreacres Says:

    Local are the best, because they don’t ship or keep well, and anything that shows up in the grocery store has been picked before it’s ripe. Sometimes, well before. If you have a farmers’ market that has them, that might be another thing. I buy them at one of our farmers’ markets, but the people I buy from have their own trees, and pick the afternoon before bringing them.

    This year, I found a source and picked my own. I’d go out every three days and gather more.

    You don’t have to peel them to eat them. If they’re really ripe, a slight twist of the stem will take them right off the tree. I’m sure you have varieties we don’t. We have mostly Brown Turkey and Celeste, and they’re delicious.

    I like them raw, and rarely cook with them, but they’re wonderful wrapped in prosciutto, or grilled. Some people stew them with spices and/or wine, but I think that’s a waste of a good fig.

    Now I’m wondering where the expression “I don’t give a fig” came from.

    • Rosemary Says:

      How can you tell if a fig is ripe? On the tree I walk past every morning, the figs seem to be stayjng green, only now just barely turning purple. Could the green figs be ripe?

      • shoreacres Says:

        Sure could, depending on variety. But most have a blush of color when they’re ripe. Also, look for bent stems. If they stand out straight from the branch, they’re definitely not ripe. Ripe figs sometimes will begin to split their skin, but they can do that if there’s been too much rain, even if they aren’t ripe. And of course they begin to soften as they ripen.

  2. Renee Says:

    I have a fig tree in my backyard and the birds feast on them. If I’m lucky I get to have some myself. I just pop the ripe ones in my mouth and enjoy.

  3. Steve Says:

    It was a good year for figs. We rarely get the second crop to ripen (up in the Skagit) like many of them are this fall. Many fig trees set two crops. The first is on wood from the previous year, and the second fruits on the current year’s growth. The first ones that ripen in late summer are delicious fresh off the tree. You really have to pick them ripe since they don’t ripen after picking. Color varies with the variety so look for fruit that is hanging down with a wilted looking neck near the stem.
    Fig jam is great and a good way to preserve them if you have a lot. Figs are great on pizza or in cake too.

  4. Elisa Says:

    I can’t get past the bug inside issue, they scare me.

  5. Diana Studer Says:

    follow the birds, then choose a soft one BEFORE the birds get it.

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