No fruit has more historical clout than the fig. Delish.
by Maya Dangerfield
Native to the Middle East figs have a long history, in history. Adam and Eve used fig leaves, Buddha receive enlightenment under the Bodhi tree (a very large fig tree), and fruit appeared in the ancient Olympics. Rome was founded under a fig tree, while India has adopted the tree as a national symbol. The Prophet Muhammad purportedly called the fig the “fruit of paradise.” High praise indeed—so why aren’t you eating it? It’s the start of fig season and Honest Cooking has the details about what makes this fruit special and delicious.
Figs have two crops a year one in the spring and more bountiful yield that begins in summer. In the Northern Hemisphere the second season extends from June to December. As one of the world’s first domesticated plants there are thousands of varieties of the fig. A Pennsylvanian collector has over 300 varieties in his backyard. Yielding variations that would attract any sommelier, figs typically are mildly sweet with a slightly nutty undertone. Teardrop shaped they range in size from slightly larger than a tennis ball to softball sized fruits. Turkey is the top producer of figs and in the Unites States, California produces 98% of the country’s fresh figs.
What to Do With It
Fig skin is edible so go ahead and dig in! If you’re searching for fresh figs be prepared to eat them immediately—figs are a highly perishable fruit. Inside the fig there are crunchy edible seeds and the flavors of the fig vary according to variety. Typically figs can be green, brown, red, purple or black. It’s said that redder figs have raspberry undertones while amber toned varieties are nuttier. Fresh figs should be soft, free of mold and smell pleasant. Figs can be eaten whole, dried or made into preserves.
June 21st is Summer Solstice, or the first official day of summer. Honest Cooking is counting down to the longest day of the year with recipes featuring seasonal produce. Eat it while you can!
What About It?
A recovering teacher and editorial intern for Honest Cooking, Maya began her journalism career at Greatist.com. A food lover who never misses dessert, she is also a passionate sports enthusiast. Currently Maya freelances for FoodmakerMedia and copywrites for Techturized. Her writing has been published for Greatist.com, Shape.com, and The Washington Post.