Grit Blogs > Cowlick Cottage Farm

I Dig Figs

figs in gardenI was really happy this morning to find a generous handful of fresh figs ripe and ready for us to enjoy. Have you ever feasted upon a fresh fig? I must confess that I never had, until I picked the first one from our own tree. A fresh ripe fig tastes nothing like a Fig Newton, so banish that thought from your mind. Its flavor is reminiscent of strawberry and peach, with a unique and delicate texture all its own. The fruit is actually an inverted flower. Isn’t that kind of sexy and exotic? The leaves of the fig tree are quite beautiful, too, making it a lovely addition to the landscape as well as the table. They impart an almost haunting herbaceous scent to the garden air during our sultry summer evenings.

Figs in the Garden

Figs trees like to be planted with plenty of organic matter and in lots of sunshine. Make sure your fig tree gets watered regularly, especially in its first couple of seasons, and protect it from heavy frosts. Simple!

alma figWe have an Alma fig that is in its second year of production. Alma is a late variety fig that produces very high quality fruit. It is not known as the prettiest fig around, but the sweet firm fruit makes up for its lack of beauty. One of the reasons we selected Alma is because the fruit is still fairly light in color when it is ripe, which makes it a little less attractive to the fig-snatching birds that make Cowlick Cottage Farm their home.

Figs on the Table

Even though figs are sweet, they are quite nutritious. They are high in potassium, which can help to lower blood pressure. They are high in fiber and calcium, making them a satisfying treat for those of us watching our weight. Fig leaves are edible, too, and are said to have anti-diabetic qualities. Try wrapping a fresh fish fillet in a freshly washed fig leaf and put it on a hot grill for a few minutes.

I am really looking forward to experimenting with fresh figs in the kitchen, if I can stop myself from making them as wonderful little appetizers. I love them halved and topped with a little goat cheese and wrapped up in a slice of proscuitto. Warm these pretty little delights in the oven until the proscuitto is a little crispy and the goat cheese is melted. Top with a splash of balsamic fig vinegar and fresh ground pepper! I love the blend of the sweet ripe fruit, the salty proscuitto and the soft creamy goat cheese.

Once the figs ramp up and ripen in unison, I will make some fig preserves for us to enjoy during the winter. And how about a fig tart, or even fig ice cream? A Sunday evening pork loin roasted with caramelized onions, figs, red wine and fresh herbs sounds delicious. As does a salad of fresh greens, figs, walnuts and gorgonzola. And a selection of cheeses served on a fig leaf is a beautiful thing. What are your favorite ways to enjoy figs?

anthony
4/9/2011 8:43:12 AM

To forget how to tend the earth is to forget your self.


carolyn binder
9/3/2010 10:28:41 AM

Hi everyone and thanks for the comments and the warm welcome to the GRIT blog world. I can't wait to try the fig recipe, and as soon as I harvest enough figs, I will try to send some to the GRIT office for tasting. They do not keep well fresh, but hopefully, I will have a big enough harvest to make some figgy jam! Thanks again, and I look forward to virtually visiting with all of you here at GRIT. Carolyn www.cowlickcottagefarm.com


s.m.r. saia
9/2/2010 12:35:28 PM

Wow, this made me hungry. We have a fig tree with some fruit on it, but none ripe yet. If we manage to get one this year I would definitely like to try it with the goat cheese and proscuitto! Thanks!


ozarkhomesteader_1
8/28/2010 3:47:16 PM

My favorite thus far, sadly, has had to be with dried figs, since I've only had fresh figs a few times in my life and have never seen them in grocery stores near me. Try this chicken stuffed with figs, bleu cheese, and nuts: http://ozarkhomesteader.wordpress.com/2010/04/14/chicken-breasts-stuffed-with-bleu-cheese-figs-and-walnuts/ I hope to be planting a fig tree within the next year, so that we can have fresh figs at home.


cindy murphy
8/27/2010 8:45:07 PM

Hi, Carolyn and welcome to Grit. I live in Michigan and work at a nursery and garden center. We sell "hardy" fig trees - Turkish brown figs, I believe. Even though they're hardy, they have to be treated with special care here in our northern climate. It's easier to keep them potted, rather than plant them in the ground, because in winter they have to be layed on the ground (or buried in a shallow trench is better) and completely covered in a thick layer of mulch. But the figs! Even this small little things (about four feet tall) produce gobs of figs. I had never had a fresh fig before we started carrying the trees. All of us (the employees) are constantly sampling the merchandise. So Jenn...it might be something you guys can try in your office community garden. Great post, Carolyn. I look forward to hearing more. Cindy ~ A Lakeside View


jnemec
8/27/2010 5:03:27 PM

Welcome to the GRIT community, Carolyn! We're happy to have ya! @Dave, as a fellow Nebraskan, I had never eaten a fresh fig either until one of my friends who was originally from a place where they grew had some flown in somehow. They are amazing, but hard to describe. Maybe we can get Carolyn to send us some. Thanks for always being there to comment for our new bloggers! -- Jenn


nebraska dave
8/27/2010 3:32:23 PM

Carolyn, I have to say that I haven’t had much exposure to figs fresh or otherwise. You say don’t think about figgy Newtons but it’s the only fig I’ve eaten. Fresh figs are not a store commodity here in Nebraska and would definitely not grow if frost is out. They do sound delicious and your suggestions would definitely be a delight to try. I never would have guessed from the pictures that those were figs. I don’t know what I thought figs looked like on the tree but that wasn’t it. I didn’t even know that they could be eaten fresh. Thanks for the education about figs. Welcome to the Grit blog world.