Figs!

September is fig season here in Northern California and at Casa Simply Recipes. In fact, we are in the midst of our annual “what to do with all these figs?” problem. My mother has a fig tree that my father and I are not allowed to trim, or even touch, so the tree just gets bigger every year. Shallow trays filled with figs line every available counter and table space in the house. We can’t give them away fast enough. Dad gets grumpy (“Would you please find something to do with all these figs!”). I make fig jam which uses up maybe six of them. I’ve tried them baked with goat cheese, but being green figs, and not more intense mission figs, they are too delicate and the result is rather a mushy mess. Mom dries them. I’m thinking about pickling a few. Do you have any ideas for us? Some favorite fig recipes that would work well with the more delicate green figs?

Here are a few great-sounding recipes that we dug up from fellow food blogs (and the NYT):

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fgs-creme-brulee.jpg fgs-butter-braised.jpg fgs-ice-cream.jpg
fgs-stuffing.jpg fgs-tartlette.jpg fgs-walnut-lamb.jpg

51 Comments

  1. Jane

    I love caramelised figs. I use brown sugar to make caramel then add the figs to the hot caramel and cook them for a short while (so they don’t go mushy!). Last night I added rosemary to the caramel, added the rosemary-caramelised figs for a salad with some tangy goat cheese, and deglazed the caramelly-fig-juicy-pan with balsamic vinegar and a little water, which made a really delicious salad dressing. It was almost too good for a meal that only took 10 minutes to get onto the plates! I’d recommend trying it.

  2. Noro

    I can’t believe it! I am one of the first to give a comment. I bet that time shift has its good sides! Some ideas on how to prepare figs? Well, I was thinking about one of Jamie Oliver’s recipe, a salad made with figs, mozzarella and Parma ham. Otherwise, here in France we usually eat foie gras with figs jam on Christmas but well, you’ve already made jam! And what about a sandwich with french baguette, eggplant caviar ( 1 grilled eggplant peeled and pureed, salt, olive oil (3 tbsp), vinegar ( 2 tblsp)), some aragulas, 2 fresh figs sliced, and Bayonne or Parma ham.

  3. Kalyn

    I’m also suffering from serious fig envy here. No figs even in the stores. This is what my mother used to call “a good problem to have.”

  4. Carolyn Autio

    Hi, I was born &amp raised in Texas, and we had a Great big Fig tree. Being Kid’s then, we would eat right off of tree when ripe. I don’t have the recipe,but my Mother made sugar cookie dough and rolled ripe Fig’s in it and baked. Was a Great Cookie,better than the bought one’s you buy. I’m trying to grow my on Fig tree here in Michigan, it is only about 8″ tall,no cookies for a long time I guess. Thanks Stormy

  5. melissa

    I love figs cut in half from top to bottom, then put sliced-end down in a pool of balsamic vinegar…

    I’m in fig envy here (MN) , because while I have seen figs in the store, they were $11 a pound, and rather horrible looking and feeling.

  6. Mary

    Elise, check over at Eatingwell.com — They can think of a use for anything. Also, we like figs on a salad of arugula with a little bit of goat cheese.

  7. merd

    I don’t know that I have ever had any recipes with figs… the only way I have ever eaten figs is with swiss cheese (maybe a smoked Gruyere) and a nice crisp red table wine. interesting recipes. Thanks!

  8. Dave P

    The Zuni Cafe cookbook has a braised chicken and fig recipe I made recently with (expensive, imported) fresh figs, I’d recommend that.

    Man, I’d love to have your problem of too many figs.

  9. Lydia Sugarman

    Hey! Can I come over and pick some up? I’m in San Francisco. Just bought a nice log of goat cheese at Trader Joe’s. Have lemons and limes from a friend’s trees in my refrigerator and fresh rosemary from another. Organic honey’s in the cupboard.

    All I need’s the figs to start experimenting.

  10. Joan Ramsay Burn

    As luck would have it, I found a couple of punnets of green figs shortly after you posted the recipe for the spiced green fig and orange jam. Until that moment, I’d never seen a green fig! (They’re not common here in Canada either) But that night I made the jam and it is Incredible! So Delicious! and so easy to make in the microwave. My problem now is–will I be able to find more figs?! Thanks for the recipe!

  11. KayKat

    I once had a black lentil and fig soup that was awesome. Pretty simple – cooked lentils, pureed figs, some garlic and a dash of lemon juice. And garnished with finely chopped mint.

    Given the number of figs you have, maybe you should feel the whole block with this soup! :)

    And now I’m tempted to try a couple of new recipes with figs, will let you know if I stumble upon something interesting!

  12. Annie

    Patricia Wells has a great recipe for roasted chicken stuffed with a rice & fig stuffing. It’s really good. It’s in the “Provence” cookbook.

  13. Liz

    I just had figs agrodolce at Mario Battali’s Otto and they were just great. Probably similar to pickling them, but with a bit more sweetness. Like pickling a peach.

  14. nmnoreen

    Combine fresh figs (sliced in fours, or sliced rounds) with blueberries, sliced strawberries, fresh peach slices. Drizzle with triple sec (I use 1/4 to 1/2 cup and let sit for a couple of hours in refrigerator). Serve chilled in your prettiest crystal or other bowl.

  15. Katie

    Hi Elise!, I just moved to Northern California (I moved to Vacaville and teach 7th grade in Fairfield). I am excited to be able to try out your Northern Cali recipes i.e. figs, tri tip roast and others. Thanks for the fig recipes–I keep seeing them at farmer’s markets but didn’t know what to do with them.

  16. PennyJ

    Mmm, figs! My brown turkey fig tree is bursting, too. I’m always on the lookout for new recipes, so thanks for the links. Lately I’ve been threading them on rosemary-branch skewers and grilling them, sometimes with a little maple syrup, cider vinegar and mustard powder mixed up and basted on–really good with cheese or grilled meat. Another great treat I just discovered is fig quesadillas! Add chopped figs (turkey are great but your tender green ones would be even better), chopped red onion and cilantro to your quesadilla and the salty runny cheese and the sweet gooey fig are delightful together. For real decadence add a little chopped prosciutto.

  17. Espahan

    Wonderful! Wouldn’t you know? I have two fig trees, a Brown Turkey and an unknown green colored variety. Neither one produced enough to do anything but just graze. I had to move them last year, and they have to get established all over again. When they produce next year I will have plenty of recipes, thanks to this place.

  18. Christine

    Fresh figs and prosciutto. Yummmmm! Much better even than figs with melon. Add a bottle of wine, some fresh bread! One of the best “meals” I have ever had was of the above, in Rapallo Italy. It was raining but warm summer day. We were playing at the beach. We all huddled under the beach umbrellas at the little cafe (a snack shack really) and indulged ourselves. Those Italians know how to eat, even in a humble beachside shack!

  19. Mercedes

    All I can say is that I’m extremely envious! I love figs, and they cost about a dollar a piece in the northeast!
    You can stuff them inside cornish hens or quail and then roast them.

  20. S

    One of my favorites is to reduce some balsamic vinegar to a syrupy consistency slice the figs in half and then in wedges keeping them together, and then drizzle the balsamic reduction and some honey across the figs. It’s a favorite sweet and sour dessert, but only beautiful fresh green figs will do for it. I can eat bushels of them that way. A friend cheats and skips the reduction by mixing the balsamic with the honey. :-)

  21. Amanda

    I nearly forgot figs came in anything but dried! We don’t get any fresh ones up here in Alaska… at least not at a price anyone would want to afford.

  22. msliny

    I’m in the northeast, too. A few weeks ago we found figs at Costco – 24 gorgeous figs for around $7.00! They were wonderful! Last weekend Costco was out of them. Hopefully there’ll be more tomorrow and I can try some of these yummy suggestions.

  23. coreyjo

    Ohhh, figs. They are just now ready here in Virgina and I got some from my favorite goat-cheese man at the farmer’s market. There may not be many more, because it is getting cold here already.
    A friend recently gave me a fig tree, because she wanted one herself, but rents, and so thought it would do better at my house – lucky me.
    One summer, some one brought me a big grocery bag full and and I made jam with lemon slices and canned it. It was such a treat to have fig jam in the winter.
    I love figs.

  24. Talulah

    I’m in Texas. Fig empanadas with walnuts and white cheese (can’t think of the name, it’s not stringy) or baked turnovers that are fig only are huge here. You can freeze them. I’m sure they are good with caramel and other types of cheese/nuts. Wish I had a big bowl of fresh figs, I used to eat them straight off the tree also. Didn’t realize they would be so expensive and hard to find someday :).

  25. Jadzia

    What to do with all those figs?? Mail them to me!! PLEASE!! :) There used to be a fig tree at my (mom’s) house, and also at my grandma’s. I ate them fresh all the time. My grandma’s housekeeper made this AWESOME “dulce de higo” (kinda like fig jam) that I ate plain, with a spoon. They were deep purple figs. Then our tree got too big (the roots started to break up the cement of the driveway) so my mom had it removed, and my grandma’s just stopped giving figs. I was very sad. I am still very sad – I haven’t been able to find awesome figs like that anymore!! :(

  26. Dana

    I once had a thin-crust pizza with figs, tomatoes, mozzarella, gorgonzola, and a dusting of parmesan, drizzled with a touch of rosemary-infused olive oil. It might not use up tons of figs, but it’s delicious. It makes me wonder what kind of fig bruschetta or tapenade you might be able to put together. If only I had the figs to try…

  27. Tracy

    I was inspired to try my hand at a making up a fig salad – it was not bad if I do say so myself.
    Take some cos (romaine) lettuce tossed with a dressing made from creme fraiche, walnut oil and dijon mustard. Add some toasted walnuts, grilled bacon and crutons made from walnut bread, scatter over a few figs cut into eighths, and grate over a little peccorino cheese and serve.
    Inspired by left over walnut bread, fresh figs and a wish for ceasar salad :)

  28. jack

    We eat them sliced in half, topped with crumbled goat cheese, with a generous drizzling of good balsamic vinegar. Here in Rome, they are eaten plain as dessert or with prosciutto as a starter. We had the same problem with the tree that hangs over our balcony–there are just too many and they are incredibly delicate.

    I left several in a bowl in the fridge too long and they started to ferment. That’s something that might just work–fig wine. Do you know anything about wine over there in California? ;-)

  29. Melissa

    We have already had fig season in Louisiana. I sure wish I had seen these recipes then because they look delectable.

    We have a neighbor across the street who is quite a bit older and offered his figs to us. He said “If you’ll come pick ‘em you can have ‘em cuz I don’t wont’em to go to waste but I just cain’t get out there to pick ‘em.” We had a lot of rain during that time so we were picking ours and his everyday for about a week and a half. Even picking so often we lost alot because they would sour before we could get to them. The ones we kept were all turned into preserves. Mighty good preserves too!

    I’m printing this out and stickin’ it back for next years fig season!

  30. Doug

    I like to slice the figs into rounds, and lay them on small pieces of toast or a firm fruit bread then top with a small chunk of good blue cheese and drizzle with reduced balsamic vinegar. That is of course, when I can find them here in St Louis.

  31. Jessica

    Mmmm… figs. My Aunt has a HUGE fig tree beside her house. She and I will eat them straight off the tree. One year I helped her preserve quite a few of them. As I recall, she just put the whole figs in a bowl, covered with sugar, and let them form their own juice. She then heated them up and poured them into jars. The heat from the figs coming off the stove was enough to get the jars to seal. We then had fig preserves on toast, pancakes, waffles… and just straight out of the jar too. I miss those days… I gotta go call her and see if they’re ripe right now too…

  32. Christina

    MMM…figgies :) My sister and her husband are renting this house in Midtown in Memphis and have several fig trees in their yard. My sis lets my mom come over to take as many as she wants. We have a pecan tree in our backyard and I am sure there is some great recipe out there that uses these 2 ingredients together. Fig and pecan pie anyone?? I didn’t know you could do too much to figs beside market Fig Newtons :/ Go figure!

  33. ashley

    My parents had the same problem last year, so they dried whatever they couldnt give away. I’ve used dried figs for soup (just cut a little x on the bottom and it gives a natural sweetness to soup. You have to use a good amount though.) I’ve also just thrown them in as I’m cooking.

  34. Kim

    Here in Western NC, Aunt Mary had an abundance of green figs every Summer. She treated the after school kids & neighbors with candied figs – 3 parts sugar to 1 part water- boiled, simmer figs (to cover) in syrup 1 hour, cool, cover, repeat the next day with same figs, repeat third day, drain and sun dry for 3 days. Voila – fig candy. I love them with prosciuto too. Fig preserves are a tie with my favorite Meyer lemon marmalade. Can’t ever have too many.

  35. Fig-me

    Here’s a simple recipe I made with from my Maryland figs (I think they’re brown Turkey#.

    two large pealed peaches sliced into bite size pieces

    8 ripe figs

    1/4 cup half wallnuts chopped

    2-3 tablespoons of honey #wild honey is really good)

  36. Matt

    About four years ago I got three Brown Turkey Fig trees from WalMart. They are producing lots and lots of big juicy figs. I’m going to try out some preserve recipes but was wondering if they’ll make a good pie or cobbler.

  37. Rowan

    One of my favorite things at a restaurant here in NYC is a dessert empanada, made with green figs (two of them), caramel, and cheese. They have a wheat crust, are fried and dusted with some powdered sugar. Absolutely delicious.

  38. Pat

    Same problem. dropped a few at the neighbors, like too many kittens. I tried fig newtons last year, but just not the same. Oh well. keep eating them.

  39. Emily

    As a child growing up in NYC, we had fig trees in our backyard, and enjoyed the figs during the growing period. Then before the weather started getting cold, my father and grandfather would wrap the trees with whatever was available in order to protect the trees from the frigid winter weather. When the weather permitted it, they were unwrapped to produce more fruit. Now that I think about it, what a treasure those trees were. Here in Florida, we have a tree, but are not as successful. We must be doing something wrong.

  40. Phil

    Here in SC we have one tree that supplies us and many neighbors. Our chickens can’t wait for one to get too ripe and hit the ground. They are like kids in a candy store.

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