Sunday, November 25, 2012

In Praise of Figs

I've become a little bit obsessed by figs.  They're slightly on the fringe of well-known fruit in Britain.

They are known mostly in the biscuits called Fig Rolls.  These have a hard, rather tasteless outside and a squidgy brown sticky middle.  As a child, I was never sure about them - - but kept right on eating them, in the hope that this would help me to make up my mind.  I didn't know what a real fig would look like and in fact didn't see one for years.

Of course, in earlier times, Syrup of Figs was known as a cure for constipation so people - in Britain at least - thought of them as a kind of medicine and not there for pleasure at all.

Then, about ten years ago, somehow I acquired some fresh figs and wasn't sure about them.  They have an outside that tastes of - - well, freshness I think is the best way to describe it.  There are lots of tiny, sweet, sticky seeds in the middle and the whole thing takes a bit of getting used to.

Whilst I was seeing if I might get used to them, I threw a bit of fig out of the window, because it was a bit too ripe.

I thought no more about it until some time later a shoot with strange leaves appeared.

"Where did you get the fig tree from?" asked a friend of ours who happened to see it.

Ohhhh yes, of course.  Fig leaves.  Mainly known for covering Adam and Eve's naughty bits.

The fig tree grew for several years,  I loved its rather exotic look.  It happened to be in a sheltered spot so managed to survive in these chilly Northern climes.  It was just beginning to produce figs when sadly it was blown down in a gale.

These days, because of my diabetes, I don't eat many sweet things, apart from fruit.  I saw some figs in the supermarket and thought I'd give them a try.

I loved them.  They tasted of hot summer evenings.  Whilst they're in season, I keep buying some every time I see them in the shops.

The checkout man today wasn't impressed with the ones I bought today, though.

"In my country the figs are much bigger than this," he said.  "The ones you get here are the size of cranberries in comparison."

So, of course, I asked him where he was from and it was Croatia.  The Communist helped to build a road there just after the Second World War.  I wonder whether they ate any of these large Croatian figs in the breaks between digging.


Anonymous Shooting Parrots said...

Figs are best served with mascapone. At least according to Mrs P who loves them. Me, I hate 'em!

1:58 pm  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

Figuratively speaking, I am sure that you already knew that "figging" is the practice of inserting a piece of ginger root into a bodily orifice -not always human. I wonder if this is where we got the Xmas refrain "Now give us some figgy pudding" from? Ah well, just a thought.

12:13 pm  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

Fresh figs are good but the fig preserves my wife's mother used to make are even better. On supermarket shelves here in the jams and jellies aisle there is a very good-tasting brand of fig preserves called Bartlett's.

12:39 pm  
Blogger Kate said...

Have you thought about compiling your posts into a book and publishing it? I'd buy it.

9:28 pm  

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