Black Mission Figs
Inventory, 3 lbs : 0
This item was last sold on : 12/24/14
Black figs are available in early spring through early winter. Beginning in winter, night temperatures drop causing a change in the fruit's texture and the fig is no longer at its best for culinary use. The interior of the fig becomes woody and dry, and the seeds begin to separate from the flesh.
Figs grow on the Ficus tree (Ficus carica), which is a member of the Mulberry family. There are almost two hundred cultivars of figs, thus they grow in a wide range of shapes, colors and textures. The common fig bears a first crop, called the breba crop, in the spring on last season's growth. The second crop is born in the fall on the new growth and is known as the main crop. Figs are botanically an inverted flower. Each fig is not a single fruit, but nearly fifteen hundred tiny fruits. Figs made their first commercial product appearance with the 1892 introduction of Fig Newtons® Cookies.
The matured Black Mission fig "fruit" has a tough peel (in this case, green giving way to deep purple), often cracking near the stem end upon ripeness, and exposing the pulp beneath. The soft creamy white interior contains a seed mass bound with jelly-like flesh. The edible seeds are numerous and generally hollow, unless pollinated. Pollinated seeds provide the characteristic nutty taste of dried figs.
When Black Mission Figs are blended with savory ingredients, such as salt, cocoa and spices, figs can produce a “meaty” flavor that has a smoky, almost steak-like aroma and taste. Chop fresh figs and thyme, then fold into olive oil-based cake batter and bake. Whip blue cheese and heavy cream, the pipe into halved figs, top with toasted hazelnuts and serve as an appetizer. Saute roasted beets and quartered figs in honey and balsamic vinegar, then toss with arugula and serve as a salad. Top puff pastry dough with crumbled goat cheese, chopped or halved figs and sliced prosciutto, then bake into a tart. To store, lay figs on paper towels; cover with plastic; refrigerate no more than three days. Use ripe figs immediately.
Figs are one of the very first plants to be cultivated by humans. They have been documented throughout history as a food source for over 11,000 years. They were first cultivated in ancient Egypt, though they are believed to be indigenous to Western Asia. They still have a huge presence in Northern Africa and throughout the eastern Mediterranean, specifically Greece and Turkey. They have been naturalized in the Western Mediterranean and throughout temperate regions of the United States, primarily Southern California. The Black Mission Fig is native to the Balearic Islands, an archipelago of Spain in the Western Mediterranean Sea. Spaniards brought the fig to America in 1520. The (California) Mission fig received its given name in honor of the missionary fathers - priests at Mission San Diego, who originally planted figs in California in 1769. In the late 1880s, fig orchards covered much of the area within the city limits of Fresno, the heart of the central San Joaquin Valley, the largest agricultural sector of California. Figs require full sun all day to ripen palatable fruits. Cold Springs and cloudy Summers can lead to a dismal fig season.
Recipes that include Black Mission Figs. One is easiest, three is harder.
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