Who doesn’t love figs? I know we do. LOVE. If, like me, your only exposure to figs while growing up was in Fig Newtons, then you need to get yourself some fresh figs, STAT. Not that there’s anything wrong with Fig Newtons--I still love those cookies to this day. Fresh figs are completely different. Slightly sweet, so fresh tasting--like summer! I say get some STAT, because the fresh fig season is so short, sadly. Seems they appear in the markets as quickly as they disappear. You need to jump on them when you see them, or you may not get any.
So when Cristina from the California Fig Advisory Board contacted me about trying some fresh figs*, I nearly jumped through my laptop--all the way to California--to say “Yes, please!”
I was expecting maybe a pound or two? No. It was so funny when I opened the door. There were two giant boxes waiting for me. They were both filled almost to the brim with figs! There were five flats of fresh figs that had 36 in each--and all different varieties. Plus--two bags full of dried figs, that were each weighing in at four pounds! I didn’t get any photos of them because honestly, it was incredibly hot the day they arrived, and my first priority was to get the flats broken down and the delicate figs stored somewhere cool. My friend Kathy at A Good Appetite got some beautiful photos of what exactly was included, and I’m sure you’ll want to see them. Figs are just gorgeous, inside and out!
So let’s add that up, ok? Five flats of 36 each--that’s 15 dozen fresh figs! And 4 pounds of dried figs! We’re in fig heaven, I’m telling you. What have we done with them? Well, besides eating a ton of them as they are, I made a fig jam and fig ice cream. There were so many of them, and they’re pretty fragile, so we ended up freezing some of them for winter use. I’ll be looking forward to that!
The Fig Ice Cream can be found at Vanilla Garlic. It’s creamy, figgy and wonderful! Also--easy, but it can be time consuming when it comes to cooking the figs down.
The Fig Jam--well, I just read a few recipes and winged it. The result is a thick, chunky fig jam that is delicious anywhere you’d use any other jam. It would also be amazing with a nice aged cheese, which I’m all out of! Damn.
makes about 2 cups
14-15 fresh figs
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
small splash of lime juice
Rinse the figs and quarter them. Add them to a medium saucepan with only the water left on them from rinsing.
Cook them down over medium heat, and kind of smush them with a wooden spoon to help them along. Cook them down for 15-20 minutes.
Stir in the sugar, increase heat a bit, and let the figs cook more. Stir occasionally.
It'll be hot, so be careful! (A splatter screen comes in very handy here.)
Cook the figs and sugar until it's thickened and almost burnt smelling, as if you were caramelizing sugar.Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and lime juice.
Let cool, and then store in an airtight container in the fridge.
I also used some figs in my Summer Harvest Salad. They’re a great addition to your summer salads!
The California Fig Advisory Board has also generously offered to give one of you the SAME PACKAGE I received. (Remember, you can see photos of the entire thing at A Good Appetite.) This one is open to US residents only because of shipping.
One winner will receive the same five flats of fresh figs, and two bags of dried figs. That’s a lot of figgy goodness! Two huge boxes worth!
Because the shipping season for figs is so short, this has to be a quickie giveaway. The winner will be randomly chosen on Saturday, August 28th.
1. Just leave a comment here telling me what you’d like to make with figs.
2. You can retweet this twice a day on Twitter, if you like, and get an additional comment entry with each tweet. Please leave the timestamp of your tweets in your comment. Retweet this tweet:
It’s a Fig-a-palooza! HUGE fig prize package! Visit @elleskitchen for more details. http://tinyurl.com/33kvppr
Be sure to leave a valid email where you can be reached!
That’s it! Easy, right? Good luck!
AND THE WINNER IS...
Number 12 is...SMITH BITES
Congratulations to our winner, and thank you to everyone for entering!
*The California Fig Advisory Board generously gave me the fresh and dried figs to try, as well as the same package to give away to one of my readers. I was not compensated to write this article and give my opinions.