Search This Blog

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Giving a Fig

You may or may not know (or care) that I am a huge fan of dried figs. I've made them into snack bars, put them in salads, baked a savory winter crumble with them, and undocumentedly eat far too many of them as a snack. There's even a fig/fennel chocolate bar that I really like and occasionally indulge in. However, until today I had never had a fresh fig! When I got the weekly email from Whole Foods, though, announcing that organic fresh figs from California were on sale, I pushed my imposed frugality out of mind and picked up a bunch. I have been trying to find fresh figs all summer, not realizing that it's only late summer, and for a short period of time, that they are ripe.

                                                            Fresh Black Mission Fig

I couldn't wait until I got home to try one, so I ate one at work and it was...alright. Not as sweet as I had imagined, and more gooey than chewy or crunchy (I love the seeds!) I was disappointed with another I ate at home, so I decided that maybe lightly cooking them would help.
I halved a few, lightly brushed them with olive oil, and cooked them in a 350 oven for about 20 minutes. They got juicier and softer, but the flavor didn't change much.

I think a deeper flavor would help me get over the weird texture. Not one to give up on a fruit I spent the whole later half of the summer thinking about, I tried one with chocolate chips, hoping they'd melt a bit into the still-warm fruit and the dark flavors would highlight each other.

Better, but still not a huge fan. Which is too bad because they are amazingly healthy; they are high in potassium, fiber, and calcium.
I'm letting the rest of them cool for now and maybe I'll add them to some oatmeal or blend them with lemon juice and agave for a quick jam. There are also a few baked goods that I've noted over the years that use figs but I can't really think of any now.
How about you guys? Do you like fresh figs? Any recommended ways to make them palatable for someone who apparently doesn't?


  1. What you need is a fig tree. (hahaha) Seriously, I was once camping in Dubrovnik, and our tent was next to a fig tree. I had never seen fresh figs, and didn't know at first what the lime green fruits with a bright pink interior were. They were practically neon. A friendly camper clued me in and I started picking and eating figs every day. They were amazing, and I haven't tasted anything like them since.

  2. Ditto Andrea...fruit in this country is so so bad. Figs in Portugal coming off a tree are so sweet. Just like apricots until they are dried and the sugar concentrated the flavor is lacking. ( I do have a fig tree and I get at least 3 whole figs a year after the squirrels are done.)

  3. Aww that is such a bummer that they were disappointing. Maybe they are one of those things that grow on you the more you eat it? Or maybe that is why they were on sale lol!

  4. Perfect timing for this post!
    I had just about given up on trying to find fresh figs too (I have only ever had dried) and now I know that they are only just in season!

    I'll definitely have to look out for them now.
    I have been told that they taste a little bit like a peach, so I'm prepared for them to taste nothing like the dried figs I have eaten.

    I have always wanted to try chocolate covered figs :)

  5. I'm surprised that you don't like fresh figs. You might like to try fresh figs in a salad. I make a salad with fresh figs, pears, lettuce and avocado.



  6. I love fresh figs and I really don't like the dried ones much at all. Do you think yours weren't properly ripened or too ripe? I usually eat fresh figs as is, but they are also good drizzled with balsamic OR served with soyatoo as dessert.

  7. Here's what I have found, fresh figs are best picked ripe and fresh from the tree and eaten while they are still warm from the sun. My uncle had a tree and the figs were sweet and candy-like. I've only had figs from the store a few times that lived up to these flavors. The rest have been a disappointment and I still haven't figured out how to tell before buying if they're going to be delicious or not. I'm a huge fan of dried figs, too. I hope you find some delicious fresh figs :)

  8. I do like fresh figs. I got some earlier this year from Trader Joe's that looked just like the one you showed -- maybe you can turn them inside out and just eat the innards? Sometimes I have trouble eating weird fruit skins when they feel weird on my lips.

    My grandmother had a fig tree. She'd make fig preserves with so much sugar you could hardly tell what fruit base it was. You can try that. Otherwise, I'd toss some dry figs in salads or make a tart.

  9. I actually prefer fresh figs to the dried ones. I saw a recipe for a fig sponge a year or so ago that looked good. It was a vegan sponge cake with the figs halved and placed around the top, then baked with some sort of syrupy mixture poured over it. I wish I could find the link, but I've lost it.

    There's a green fig tree at the lake near my house that's full of figs and I've been tracking them every time I go for a run, waiting for them to get ripe. Well, I missed a few days and the last time I checked, they had begun to ripen, but someone had broken some of the largest branches off the tree to get them down. It was a sad sight. Sheesh! They must have a really bad fig craving, or a really bad something anyway.

    Those are my fig stories.

  10. I tried my first fresh fig a few weeks ago at the farmers market. I was like you...It was not at all what I was expecting. The lady told me to try a little peanutbutter on them. I did, and it was pretty good. She told me they were really good grilled with peanutbutter on them Needless to say, my figs didn't make it that far because someone left them in the kitchen chair where I couldn't see them and they ruined. :( Let us know your favorite way to eat them. :o)

  11. I am not a fan of figs, but I wish I was because like you said, they're quite healthy!

    That's too bad that they left you disappointed. :(

  12. Dubrovnik! Andrea, that sounds amazing. That's seriously my dream - to sleep under a tree, wake up, and have breakfast from the sheltering tree.

    Susan, it's nice of the squirrels to leave you a few.

    VAVA, yeah, most things seem to improve if you give them a chance but it was still a bummer. I'd rather be eating your baked goodies right now!

    Isobelle, glad to be of service. Just call me the When the Fruit's in Season Holler Lady.

    Peter, I will try that! Thanks! Pears are coming back around too!

    Abby, you can have my figs. Will they still ripen having already been picked?

    Nikki, I need a tree! Eating them warm from the sun sounds like a dream.

    Jessica, the skin is definitely a bit of a weird-out. A fig preserve may be in the works.

    Rose, that's a shame about the tree! Maybe it was rain, or something? The sponge cake sounds awesome. I will look into it.

    Michelle, you sat on your figs?? That's too bad...but kind of funny!

    Molly, if only they could make a fig in vitamin form.

    Shen, thanks anyways....SIGH

  13. I don't understand figs! I can't quite figure out what a ripe or unripe fig is. I bought a container once because I think they always look so nice in people's salads. But they were weird to me. So I didn't know if I just don't like figs - or if they were just over or underripe.

  14. Jenny, I actually looked up how to tell if they're ripe or not but it only helps if you buy them loose and not already packaged. For black mission figs, you want them to be dark and full, give a little when you press them lightly but not too mushy. I guess, as everyone has said, they just aren't that great unless you pick them yourself, ripe off of a tree. Good luck with that one.


Leave a message and I'll call you back.