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I first tried figs this summer when volunteering at our community garden. I enjoyed picking the fruit in the community garden’s large fig grove. The canopy the large trees left me under felt magical and what an adventure it was to search and high and low for figs.

At some point along the way I became hesitant. One of the volunteers was spreading her wisdom out for me. She said to be careful of the white sap that can dribble off the stem when harvesting figs, its irritating to sensitive skin, but a cure for worts. I examined the fruit closely. How odd this purple tear drop was… would it taste good?

I took some home and contemplated what to do with them. For some reason my instinct did not drive me straight to the internet for answers. I day dreamed. I came up with the idea of having figs with cheese. My partner thought I was loopy he’d never heard of anyone eating figs with cheese, but that night I got my way and set our table with an array of fruits: figs, pears, plums, and peaches from the community garden. A large salad with nuts and a homemade vinaigrette. Pieces of smoked salmon and of course a large slab of locally made brie.

We each took a bite and I found heaven. Sweet and creamy… I couldn’t get enough. My love for figs and cheese was found and the adventure had only just begun.

Later this summer I prepared breakfast for my father and siblings in Nevada. The breakfast was inspired by a recipe in a Jamie Oliver cookbook I had given my dad. We sat down at the table, piled high in the center were huge extra ripe figs and next to them? A sauce made of ricotta cheese and honey. Again, heaven.

As part of dinner last night Jon and I whipped together a fig salad. 2 figs each cut into quarters and set on top of baby greens. Drizzled on top I made a plum sauce dressing. Very tasty. I look forward to making it again.

And today for lunch I am eating figs drizzled with a little agave syrup, crunchy toast, and Mediterranean cheese yogurt (if you like cream cheese and you like yogurt you Must try this. I’ve only been able to find it at Trader Joe’s, but keep your eye out for it :))

Figs are a fruit that should not be feared. Beneath their smooth purple skin lies sweet, soft goodness that pairs well with soft cheeses like those described above as well as meats like prosciutto and Parma ham.

The figs used in the dishes above were all fresh, simply washed and cut into quarters, halves, or eighths depending on the size of the fruit and what it was used with. This is only the tip of the ice berg for cooking with figs.

If you are interested in picking up a fig cookbook try:

Fig Heaven by Marie Simmons

Local Sonoma Restaurant, The Girl and the fig (cookbook)

Or see what turns up in an internet search for figs:

Cornish hens stuffed with brandied figs

100 year old fig preserves

Grilled Figs

I highly recommend picking your own figs if possible, the hunt for figs makes the treat of eating them much more enjoyable I’ve found. I also think the fresher figs are the better they taste (I am also not a huge fan of dried figs). If you don’t have a fig grove in your community garden or if you don’t have a nice neighbor who likes to share 🙂 maybe you should look into growing your own fig tree. After all, who can pass up on this Fitness fruit that is said to have come from the Tree of Life? Figs pack a powerful punch of fiber, minerals, and nutrients... no wonder Buddha sat down under a fig tree to find enlightenment.

What is your favorite fig recipe? Send me an email or leave a comment!

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