Figs for Dummies

Monday, July 28, 2014

When you buy a 70 year old house, you inherit all kinds of interesting things, good and bad. Like the 36 year old air conditioning unit that went out just 9 months into our ownership. Or the rope that once held a tire swing, I'm sure, now hanging so high from pine tree branch that you can't get it down and it's become a decorative accent of your back yard. Or, in this case, a giant fig tree that bears fruit even when you neglect it. 

We noticed the tree last summer when we moved in, but honestly, picking figs was the last thing on my mind. A few weeks after move-in, we had a huge storage shed in the backyard torn down, and the guys who did the demolition ended up taking every last fig off the tree for their greedy little selves. So not cool. That said, we didn't get a one last year. Not one! 

A few weeks ago, I noticed there were dozens - maybe hundreds - of tiny figs on the tree. Not one to miss an opportunity for a second year in a row, I kept watch to see when they looked ripe and ready for the picking. Unfortunately, I know nothing about figs. This girl grew up in orange groves, not fig orchards (if that's even what they're called). 

I needed to know if they were ripe, what kind do fig tree I have, how to pick them from the tree, and of course, recipes - what in the heck was I going to do with all these things?! So I did what anyone would do: googled "Figs for Dummies" - and nothing relevant came up. So disappointing. 

(Maybe the next time someone googles that phrase this blog post will come up. Not that I'm a wealth if knowledge, but they'll know they're not alone.)

After watching several enthusiastic fig lovers in YouTube tutorials, I was set to harvest. I couldn't get over how many little figgies were on my tree! My poor, neglected fig tree that we haven't so much as trimmed since we moved in just keeps giving! 

With my first bunch, I gave most of the figs away to neighbors and co-workers, but not before I made this delicious salad. 
1-2 small figs, cut into fourths or eighths
Spiced pecans
Crumbled goat cheese
Mixed greens
Balsamic vinegar and olive oil 

Mix together and serve in a chilled bowl. Even better when paired with a crisp white wine! 

I've since gathered a few more recipes that I want wait to try. Goodness knows I'll have bountiful harvests for the next few weeks! And if you have a fig recipe that's worth a try, holla at me :) 


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