With an addition of lemon or lime juice, figs have a flavor that reminds me of peaches. And when they come in abundance as they have here this year that’s a great thing. The Brown Turkey and Mission figs in the photo I gathered for a fig pizza. Our local newspaper had an article praising fig pizza as a way of using the bounty. In this house, fig pizza was a one time experiment. Jam, chutney, salsa, wine, vinegar, and simply drying figs are all better uses for the abundant crop than as a pizza topping.
For my fig jam, I use a recipe from Emeril called fig preserves. But I add a tablespoon of lemon juice. It is essentially a reduction sauce with three ingredients: figs, sugar and lemon juice. The acidity of the lemon provides a bit of tang to the rich earthy fig flavor.
Fig salsa has been the best new use of figs here this summer. If peach salsa is something you like, fig salsa will also work well. Before making mine, I read several online recipes then started chopping. Gather the fresh ingredients, know what you like, trust your taste buds, and create your own. I like plenty of tang to balance the sweetness, so in addition to lime juice I added fig vinegar. Balsamic would also be fine if you don’t happen to have any fig from the last time they were abundant.
Desserts are another great possibility with fresh figs. Above is a simple favorite. Quarter figs, add a soft cheese, drizzle with honey, grind a little black pepper and melt the cheese. Brew some coffee to enjoy with it.
Figs grow without being bothered by insect pests or diseases. They are not at all like peaches which are extremely difficult to grow organically here. When they survive our winters without dieing back to the roots, it makes for a nice fruit season.