Although the avocado earns the title of California’s official state fruit, the sweet and seedy fig is hot on its heels. After being introduced to the West Coast in the 1700s, the teardrop-shaped beauty quickly marked its place as a California staple, popping up at various missions along the coast and surfacing during the Gold Rush. By 1899, a commercial fig industry had bloomed in California, and by 1931, the Golden State had over 57,000 acres of figs (that’s over 43,000 American football fields!). Today, California produces 100 percent of the United States’ dried figs and 98 percent of its fresh figs to ship out to farmers market goers, supermarkets and hungry customers across the country. In fact, Curtis has a huge, blooming ficus tree in his garden at home, where he has been keeping a watchful eye on the figs ripening on the tree and plucking them off the tree at their prime!
Want to enjoy California Figs this season but don’t know where to start? Keep your eyes peeled for these four main types:
Excellent garden or landscape crops, Kadotas have a yellow-green skin and silky-smooth pink-orange flesh dotted with a few pulpy seeds. They are available from June to October, offer a light, delicate flavour and are delicious fresh or dried.
Brown Turkey Figs
Brown Turkeys have a meaty, soft red exterior and purplish-brown flesh. These robust fruits are best eaten fresh from May to December.
Image Source: vanillalemonade.com
Black Mission Figs
Named after the San Diego Mission, where they were first grown in 1769, Black Missions are great fresh or dried. Their thin, purple skin and watermelon-pink flesh offer a rich, sweet, jammy flavour that goes well with cheese and honey. Black Missions are available from May to November.
Image Source: ez2plant.com
Pale-yellow on the outside and red-orange on the inside, Calimyrnas taste of honey and butterscotch (how glorious is that?) They are available from July to September and offer mouthwatering flavour when fresh or dried.
Image Source: inspiredcookdiaries.com
Not sure what to do after picking up some figs? No worries. Give Curtis’ Peppered Duck Breast, Poached Balsamic Figs and Garlic Crisps With Jus Gras, Caramelized Figs With Mascarpone and Honey or Chocolate Pan Forte a go and see what this little luscious fruit can do…
For further inspiration, check out Curtis’ Fun With Figs Pinterest board because if it is late summer in your hood, now is the time to get figgy wit’ it!