The Fig Saga

Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook 

Simple Fast Fig Frozen Yogurt

FIGS-It’s All Great News

  • Great news because figs flourish beautifully in our region -as long as they are in a protected spot from the winter chill.
  • Figs trees are abundant yielding fruit trees-giving fruit sometimes in the  2nd year
  • A variety of different fig trees can supply fruit for months!
  • Fig trees do not require chemical sprays to prevent insects
  • …great to know Homestead Gardens has so much fig stock available.
What to Buy
Joseph Panossian, the nursery manager in Davidsonville, says, “We have a very good selection right now, with the earliest producing varieties available for picking now and later varieties ready in early fall.”

Black Mission

 Black Mission (available in Davidsonville)

• Large black fruit with a light strawberry-colored flesh that is known for rich flavor and high sugar content

• Vigorous grower, but may need wind protection in cold-winter areas

• Eat fresh or dried

• Also known as California Black or Franciscan

 

Brown Turkey

Brown Turkey (available in Davidsonville and Severna Park)

• Full sun

• Small, deciduous tree with low branching habit

• Produces edible brown fruit in the fall

• Needs protection in winter

• Reaches a height between 6–8 feet tall when mature

 

Celestial Fig

Celeste (available in Davidsonville and Severna Park)

• Part shade to full sun, best fruiting with more sun

• Very sweet, small- to medium-sized fruit

• Skin is light violet to violet-brown, flesh is reddish amber

• Small, productive and hardy

• Use for eating, canning and drying

 

Italian Everbearing (available in Davidsonville)

• Part shade to full sun, best fruiting with more sun

• Large reddish-brown fruit with pink sweet flesh

• Flavorful figs resemble those of ‘Brown Turkey’ but they are larger

• Grows as a large bush

• Excellent to eat either fresh or dried

 

Kadota Fig

Kadota (available in Davidsonville)

• Part shade to full sun, best fruiting with more sun

• Sweetest fruit is produced when daytime temperatures regularly exceed 95°F

• Thrives in most well-drained soil types

• Grows to 25 feet tall and 40 feet wide if not pruned

• Mature trees are hardy to 15°F

 

Lattarula (available in Davidsonville)

• Medium to large fruit with green-yellow skin and white flesh with a tangy, sweet flavor and a nutty texture

• Good when eaten fresh, but better when dried and superb when stewed

• An old standard fig, considered an heirloom variety

• Also known also under the names Bianchi, Blanche, Lattarula, Lemon, Marseilles and White Marseilles

 

Oregon Prolific (available in Davidsonville)

• A vigorous and hardy yellow-skinned fruit with white flesh

• Full sun in dry, well-drained soil

• Very good for eating fresh or canned

• Do not prune as it produces fruit on old wood

• Grows to about 8 feet in height

 

Peter’s Honey (available in Davidsonville)

• Produces thin-skinned green-yellow fruit with a syrupy, honey-sweet taste and amber-colored flesh

• Vigorous grower, but may need wind protection in cold-winter areas

• Requires full sun

• Grows 15-25 feet high and wide

• Ripe when skin is golden on the top half, very soft & showing a few wrinkles

 

Violette de Bordeaux (available in Davidsonville)

• Large, black-skinned fruit has deep strawberry red flesh with a distinctly pleasing acidic taste

• Excellent eaten fresh or dried

• Dwarf tree variety that is well-suited for small gardens

• Adapted well to the South but needs winter cold protection

  • Also known as Beer’s Black, Negronne, Bordeaux, and Petite Figue Violette

Fig photo credits: Monrovia Growers, Valley Fig Growers-San Joaquin Valley, CA

Storing fresh figs

Figs won’t last long at room temperature, but a dry cool refrigerator will keep them several days. Make sure to store in a single layer-no piling

 

Now, to get rolling in the fig excitement I’ve started with the simplest most refreshing of recipes: Frozen Fig Yogurt. I was inspired from an old recipe from a Cuisinart “How To” for a basic frozen fruit yogurt. I had frozen figs (because that is how I preserve the harvest). I revamped the recipe with healthy maple syrup some different spices and voila…this outstanding “good-for-you” treat.

Check back for more Figgy Creations next Thursday on Homestead Gardens Blog with The Seasonal Local Cook!

Simple Fast Fig Frozen Yogurt

Serves 4-6

  • 3 cups fresh frozen figs, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup superfine cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Dash salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch cardamom (optional)
  • 3/4 cup thick Greek style yogurt
  • fresh mint for garnish

Chill the work bowl and blade of your food processor.

Put the frozen figs, sugar, maple syrup, lemon juice, salt, vanilla and cardamom (if using) into the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse to chop figs coarsely, then run machine continuously to create almost a purée, but with some fruit chunks showing.

With the machine still running, spoon in the yogurt until the mixture is JUST blended.

Spoon into dessert dishes, garnish with sprigs of fresh mint. If you are freezing to serve in the future, soften before trying to scoop.

…to be continued

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