Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Pot of Gold

When I was a little girl in Missouri, it was popular to have fruit trees. We, however, did not have any. My dad was content with having an enormous vegetable garden.
Our neighborhood had several folks with apple, pear or plum trees. There was a general rule that if a branch hung over a fence, the fruit was free for the taking.
I was happy to take it.

If I wandered outside my general neighborhood parameters and discovered a new tree hanging over someone's fence, I felt like I'd discovered gold. Maybe I'd get to try a new kind of apple or pear.
It didn't take much to make me happy.
I had long forgotten about those experiences until we moved to this property in 2000. We were one of the first to build in our area, and that meant there were acres and acres to be explored.
On on particular outing, I noticed a tree that was covered in birds. Upon closer inspection, I discovered they were gorging on figs. Small, purple-brown Turkish figs. Figs that cost upwards of $10 a pound at the grocery store. I'd discovered gold, all over again. What was even better, is the tree didn't belong to anyone.
Every year after that, I'd race the animals to get the figs before they did. The birds got the ones in the top of the tree, the deer would get the ones nearest the bottom, and I'd get the ones in the middle.
The last two years have been dismal for fig production. Figs are primarily water and sugar. No rain means no figs. This spring, it began to rain again. Long, soaking rains.
The fig tree has rewarded my patience with enormous fruit this year. They are bigger than any fig I have ever seen--as big as a jumbo egg. Their sweetness is not rivaled by sugar nor honey.

This tart is just the beginning. Figs will find themselves in jelly jars and in salads. I will scour recipes online for fig recipes. Above all, my favorite way to eat them is raw. Skin and all.
Good thing they aren't really gold, or I'd have a broken tooth or two.

9 comments:

  1. I don't believe I have ever had a fig before. Your tart looks lovely.
    I'm also admiring your weather. We're at 52 today and just had a hailstorm so powerful, we accumulated about 3/4 of an inch on the ground. This is clearly turning out to be a garden BUST year. :-(
    But, yum on the figs! :-)

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  2. The tart looks delicious! I've never had or even seen a fig outside of seeing them at the grocery.

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  3. Wow! Lucky You, to find treasure and then to know its value and how to use it.

    I love figs. I could eat a whole pkg of fig newtons. But, like the earlier comments, I don't think I've seen many fig trees growing in their natural habitat or eaten a fig off the tree. I understand the fig was the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. You didn't see any friendly evil snakes near your fig tree did you?

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  4. Those are the biggest figs I've ever seen! Fig trees really attract birds, don't they? My dad rooted three of them for me from his plant last year, and I rooted two more from those. I have them growing in pots. I'm afraid they'd never survive in the ground through our cold winters. I'm not sure I'll ever get fruit while they are potted, but it does make a beautiful plant!

    Your tart makes my mouth water! I can't wait to see your pretty jars of fig jam and the other things you come up with. But I'm with you - eating the raw is the best way to eat them! Yum!!!

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  5. You lucky duck! I absolutely love figs... you're going to be having so much fun in the kitchen. Your tart is beautiful CeeCee! Yum. :)

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  6. Danni, did any of your garden survive the hailstorm!!?? I'm so sorry your weather is sucking eggs this year.

    Robin, I'd never seen any until I move to Texas. It's too cold to grow them anywhere north of zone 7 unless they can be overwintered.

    Leenie, I too, could eat a whole sleeve of fig newtons. My digestive system fusses at me, though.
    As for the snakes--it would make sense as snakes will snatch a bird if they can. There are many, many birds in this tree. :)

    Penny, I decided not to compete with the animals to this tree and planted my own 'tree' (really just a stick with leaves). It will be a few years until it bears fruit. A potted fig tree should bear fruit if it is treated properly---it just needs to come indoors in the winter.

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  7. Morning Bray, I must have commented at the same time you were sending your note.
    I'd trade all the figs for a donkey (or 3), but alas, the HOA will not let me.

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  8. Aren't figs easy to grab cuttings from? Have you made a cutting for your yard yet? They look delicious!!

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  9. Warren, that's what I've heard, but I can't manage it. Every year I take cutting and follow the directions meant for fig trees. No luck.
    I did plant one in the yard that I bought at at nursery. It's a stick with leaves.

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