FIGS: HIDDEN TREASURES

Q: Why do people call figs a ‘false fruit’?

With all this unseasonal rain, top quality strawberries are going to be thin on the ground for Valentine’s Day. So why not replace them with some fresh NSW figs! Local figs are fantastic quality at the moment, and with a long held reputation as both an aphrodisiac and symbol of romance, they will satisfy foodies and romantics alike.

As fresh figs do not ripen after harvest, pick figs that are heavy and plump with no blemishes and good colour for their variety (see below). Avoid any with a sour smell as they will be over ripe.  When they split at the base, they’re ready to serve.

 

BLACK GENOA: Most common commercial variety in NSW

Image: www.flemings.com.au

SHAPE: Med to large , squat and conical

COLOUR: Dark purple skin at maturity, dark red seeds and white flesh

AVAILABILITY : late December to May

PEFORMANCE: Distinctive rich, sweet flavour, stores well. Best for eating fresh or jams

 

WHITE ADRIATIC:

Image: treesofantiquity.com

SHAPE:  Med to large, sphere.

COLOUR: The skin is green tinged with amber when ripe. Flesh is a rich , strawberry colour

AVAILABILITY : March to May

PEFORMANCE: All purpose fig with excellent flavour. Peels easily when ripe

 

BROWN TURKEY:

Image: www.flemings.com.au

SHAPE:  Med to large, pear shape with prominent ribs and large eye

COLOUR: Thin, brown skin which is a lighter copper colour near the stem, flesh is pink-brown

AVAILABILITY : February to May

PEFORMANCE: Excellent flavour with few seeds- suited to eating fresh

 

Image: www.flemings.com.au

PRESTON PROLIFIC: Originated in VIC, thought to be a Black Genoa seedling

SHAPE: Med to large, sphere

COLOUR: Skin changes from green to a purple brown when ripe. Pulp is amber with a tint of red and the flesh is very thick, creamy white and juicy

AVAILABILITY : February to May

PEFORMANCE: Distinctively sweet

 

Still not convinced? Here are some Valentine’s Day inspirations with fig at their heart:

Arugula with Brûléed Figs, Ricotta, Prosciutto & Smoked Marzipan – Graham Elliot

Duck Breast with figs, burnt honey and lavender sauce – Gourmet Traveller

Figs for a Thousand and One Nights– Nigella Lawson

Fig leaf ice-cream with crushed berries and meringue– Gourmet Traveller

Baci Di Fichi – delicious magazine

 

A: Figs are all about hidden treasures. What we often refer to as the fruit is actually a synconium (hollow vessel) which holds the delicate flowers and seeds of the plant.  In ‘persistent’ figs varieties (i.e. the ones we eat fresh) the flowers are all female and the seeds empty. Whereas dried figs are produced from varieties where the seeds are pollinated, which is how they achieve their nutty flavour.

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