Figs

green figs

The LSU Purple and Brown Turkey figs are starting to come in. I’ve been drying and eating fresh and making muffins. Next to make preserves.   I’ve had folks to tell me they didn’t like the taste of figs. If picked early they do have a biting taste from the white liquid that comes out of the stem if still green.  When ripe especially the new hybrids have a very sweet taste to them.  Figs are ripe when they start hanging down and are soft. I have one variety called Green Ischia that stays green even when ripe. It starts hanging down when ripe and will come in the first of September.  It is a very sweet fig.

ripe LSU fig

About figs taken from the California Fig Advisory Board website:

  • The fig tree is the symbol of abundance, fertility, and sweetness.
  • Figs made their first commercial product appearance in the 1892 introduction of Fig Newtons® Cookies.
  • For many years the fig has been used as a coffee substitute. The fruit contains a proteolytic enzyme that is considered an aid to digestion and is used by the pharmaceutical industry.
  • And, because of its high alkalinity it has been mentioned as being beneficial to persons wishing to quit smoking.
  • Figs contain a natural humectant — a chemical that will extend freshness and moistness in baked products.
  • A chemical found in figs, Psoralen, has been used for thousands of years to treat skin pigmentation diseases. Psoralen, which occurs naturally in figs, some other plants and fungi, is a skin sensitizer that promotes tanning in the sun.
  • Figs provide more fiber than any other common fruit or vegetable. The fiber in figs is both soluble and insoluble. Both types of fiber are important for good health.
  • Figs have nutrients especially important for today’s busy lifestyles. One quarter-cup serving of dried figs provides 5 grams of fiber — 20% of the recommended Daily Value. That serving also adds 6% of iron. And, they have no fat, no sodium, and no cholesterol. Recent research has shown that  figs also have a high quantity of polyphenol antioxidants. Six fresh figs have 891 mg of the blood pressure-lowering mineral, nearly 20% of your daily need of potassium, and about double what you’d find in one large banana
  • Although considered a fruit, the fig is actually a flower that is inverted into itself. The seeds are drupes or the real fruit.
  • California figs are the only fruit to fully ripen to complete sweetness and semi-dry right on the tree before falling to the ground to continue drying.
  • After harvest, the figs are inspected and packaged. Packaging includes rings of figs tightly packed and over-wrapped, moisture-proof bags, wrapped finger packs, plastic cups or bulk. California figs are generally found in the produce or baking section of your favorite supermarket.
  • Figs are harvested in the late summer and early fall, but because they are dried and conveniently packaged, they are available all year long. They are popular additions to a wide assortment of baked goods, and also a part of traditional American and Jewish holiday feasts such as Succoth, Hanukkah and Passover.

The fig is believed to be indigenous to western Asia and to have been distributed by man throughout the Mediterranean area. Remnants of figs have been found in excavations of sites traced to at least 5,000 B.C

LSU & Brown turkey figs

If you’ve ever picked okra, you know what it’s like picking figs, it’s an itchy job.  The

dehydrator

directions that came with my dehydrator said to wash, dry and cut in half and put the cut side down on the tray.  If done this way, you have an itchy tongue after eating them. Directions from a 1950 Alabama Extension preserving book says to remove the itchy stuff by adding a cup of baking soda to six cups of figs and add a gallon of boiling water. Let sit for 5 minutes and rinse and dry, then cut in half and place on tray.  If you have small ones, just pierce them.  You’d think this process would make them soggy, but it doesn’t. It

ready to store

finished product

takes about a day and a half to dry in my dehydrator. Next project drying apples.

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4 Responses to Figs

  1. Jean Ross says:

    Mary, how do you keep the birds and squirrels from getting them before you? That’s the problem we have.

  2. With the hooligans I don’t have much trouble with that. I occasionally have a little bird damage. I used to use old CD’s with a hole drilled in along the edge and hung around to fly in the wind. I used them in my blueberry patch after I lost Casey and before I got my current 3 due to a lot of bird damage.

  3. Jean Ross says:

    Thanks. I’ll try that next year. There are no more left this year.

  4. When I was between dogs I seemed to have less trouble with birds on the varieties that stay green when ripe such as the Green Ischia. There’s not a color change to call attention to it, plus it is a very good tasting variety. Mary

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