Figs are about as ancient as good eats get. So old are they, that fossils have been found in a Neolithic village near present day Jericho, making them the first plant likely cultivated by humans. Yeah, we’re “figgin'” out about this history fact, too.
“They’re also remarkably well travelled as plants go.”
They’re also remarkably well travelled as plants go. From humble beginnings as a staple crop in the Middle East, they soon spread to Greece, where Aristotle sung their praises. Soon thereafter, they arrived to Rome, where they were fed to geese to make a sort of early foie gras (oh, you fancy, huh?). It didn’t take long for the sweet honeyed fruit to make its way through Western Europe until eventually landing in the New World as well.
We have the Spanish missionaries to thank for bringing figs to California, where they flourished in the Mediterranean-like climate of the Bay Area. Newcomers seeking their fortunes during the Gold Rush introduced more varieties, and before long, California was dubbed the fig growing capital of America.
“Their growing season is short and at its peak, between late summer and early fall.”
Here at Home Chef we love all varieties of figs for their plump texture and mildly sweet, almost nutty flavor. If you’ve only tried them in baked goods or in their preserved form, you’re in for a sweet surprise. Their growing season is short and at its peak, between late summer and early fall. Now is the perfect time to slice open a few and try one of the super simple no-cook pairings below:
With Soft Cheeses:
Try hunks of burrata, goat cheese, brie, and even crumbles of bleu cheese
With Aged Cheeses:
Try shavings of Manchego, Parmesan or Pecorino
Figs+ Roasted Nuts:
Try walnuts, pecans, or pistachios – especially candied varieties
Figs + Charcuterie:
Try thin slices of prosciutto or bacon
Figs + Acid:
Try balsamic glaze, sherry vinegar or pomegranate molasses