August 26, 2008

My figs are ready to be plucked and enjoyed

I'm so excited because my fig trees have been bearing fruit and that fruit is finally ready to be plucked and savored. My figs are planted in pots because it's too cold and windy in this part of the world for the trees to survive the winter. Instead, in late fall, they are wrapped in burlap and placed in a dark, unheated barn.  This provides a safe environment, allowing the plants to spend the necessary dormant period so that they are energized to produce fruit again next spring.
Please continue reading for more interesting facts about figs and to check out more pictures.

One of the many joys of the late-summer harvest is biting into a sweet,
juicy, plump fig. The fig is not a true fruit in the botanical sense
of the word, but a fleshy receptacle housing thousands of tiny fruits.
The fig has tremendous nutritional and medicinal properties and has
been prized since ancient times. 

First cultivated 5,000 years
ago in the Middle East, fresh figs are an excellent source of potassium
and fiber and, when dried, these nutritional elements are even more
concentrated. In fact, dried figs are so sweet that they were used as
a sweetening agent long before sugar was introduced to the world. The
stems and leaves of the fig tree contain a milky, coagulating substance
that is said to rid the skin of wrinkles and calluses. In ancient
Greece, fig-tree branches were used to stir cheese, accelerating the
coagulation process.

If you're fortunate enough to have a fig tree, be sure to wait until
the figs are ripe before picking them.  They will not ripen once
they're picked. Figs are highly perishable and need to be eaten
quickly. A perfectly ripe fig is a fabulous dessert by itself, but
figs marry well with countless other flavors, from sweet to savory and raw to cooked.

This beautiful braided fig tree is an Italian purple-red. I really love the taste of the fruit.

Look at this plate of Italian purple-reds! So gorgeous and delicious!

This fig is actually a cutting from a tree that my father grew in his well-protected garden in Nutley, New Jersey.

It's a common variety that produces a light-green fig. When you take a bite, the inside is a gorgeous pink.

Still life with Vivaldi.