July 5, 2017
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
A fig is a fig is a fig, right? Not in our book! The world of fresh figs is so much more than the common black mission or brown turkey (though they are certainly delicious too). In fact, there are more than 700 varieties of figs around the world, about five to 10 of them grown commercially, each with its own character.
What differentiates fig varieties can be both obvious, such as color and shape, and discrete, like subtle flavor notes. In color, figs can range from deep purple or black to a bright, almost neon, whitish-green. Their shape can be slender, long, short, squat, distinctly teardrop, or pleasantly plump and round. Some varieties have smooth skin, while others have somewhat ridged skin prone to small splits (which actually indicate prime ripeness - not quality defect!). Inside, the flesh can range from pink to honey brown to deep, jewel-toned maroon. But where these lesser-known fig varieties really shine is flavor: think raspberry, strawberry, caramel, honey, maple syrup, and almond (now all you need is a scoop of vanilla ice cream).
Our favorite figs: they're green!
Honey Roasted Calimyra Fig and Burrata Crostini by Flavour and Salvour
The kadota fig is one of the most well-known green figs. It is believed to be thousands of years old - called Dotatto in its native Italy. It is thick-skinned and firm with a sweet, honey-like flavor and a glassy amber tinge radiating from the center. The perfect all-purpose fig.
The calimyrna fig - a larger variety - is bursting with butterscotch, honey, and nutty flavors. The calimyrna is at its peak when so plump and round that cracks start to split the fruit's thick, tender whitish-green skin. This soft succuelnt fig should be treated gently, and takes especially well to baked goods like tarts and galettes.
A fully ripe tiger-stripe fig has smooth skin, with eye-catching light yellow bright green stripes and a perfectly tear-drop shape. Inside, deep, jewel-toned, crimson-colored pulp tastes unmistakabley like a spoonful of fresh strawberry or raspberry jam. Their high sugar content is responsible for their nickname: the 'candy stripe fig.' This one makes a jam to write home about.
Honey Bourbon Fig & Hazelnut Tart from Fake Food Free
What's your favorite?
figs, fresh, black mission, brown turkey, kadota, calimyrna, tiger stripe, fruit, varieties, produce, summer, fall