The luscious fig is an ancient fruit with a rich history – the Egyptians regarded the fig tree as the Tree of Life and certainly one was referred to in the biblical Garden of Eden.
Figs are now cultivated in many parts of the world, including Australia. The exact origin of the fig is uncertain – but is thought to be the Middle East or western Asia. The trees do best in hot, fairly dry areas. Most of the figs we see in retailers are likely grown in South Australia or Queensland.
The entire fig including the skin can be eaten, particularly if the skin is soft & delicate. Handle them with care, keep in the fridge for 2-3 days but bring them up to room temperature to enjoy the full flavour. They are one of the highest plant sources of calcium & fibre, as well as being rich in other minerals & antioxidants.
For a summer salad, slice fresh figs and toss with rocket, walnuts and blue cheese, drizzle with some quality olive oil & balsamic. Fresh fig quarters are a delicious addition to a cheese board, or grill halved figs with honey and serve with fresh mascarpone or ricotta for dessert.
The Australian fig season is fairly short, typically from late summer to mid-autumn, so look out for them in quality green grocers now. We are lucky to work with fresh figs at The Other Chef Fine Foods – destined for our very own Fig Jam as well as some Persian Spiced Baby Figs.