Aug 23

Fresh California Figs + A Giveaway!

in Giveaway

We are now in the middle of fig season here in California.

Assortment of fresh California Figs

I remember eating my first fig when I was about 11 years old at a friends house.  Her parents were Iranian immigrants and they had planted a fig tree when they bought their home in Southern California to remind them of home.  The tree was huge with gorgeous green leaves.  I remember seeing the tree with fruit on it for the first time and asking my friend what the fruit was.  I remember her looking at me incredulously, grabbing a fig off the tree, and handing it to me, urging me to eat it.  All it took was one bite and I knew that I loved figs.   At the end of last month I got an email from the California Fig Advisory Board asking if I would be interested in receiving a package of “fresh-from-the-farm” figs.  How could I turn an offer like that?  Last Thursday I received not one, but two massive boxes filled with figs: 5 flats containing 36 figs in 5 different varieties, and 2 four pound bags of 2 different varieties of dried figs.  I felt like Christmas had come early—the California Fig Advisory Board spoiled us rotten.

Discovering Fresh Figs

My kids have been going fig wild, eating their weight in fresh figs.  I spent the past weekend cooking with figs—enjoying the pleasure of letting my taste buds lead the way.  As a result, I have SO MUCH to share that I’m devoting this entire week to figs.

Fig Week

Why figs?

Spanish missionaries planted fig trees when they established a mission in San Diego, California, in the late 19th century.  But it wasn’t until the early 20th century that California began to really cultivate and process figs, due to the development of more sophisticated cultivation techniques that improved the quality of the figs grown in California.  Since that time California has become one of the world’s largest producers, along with Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey.  California fig growers produce 100 percent of the USA’s dried figs and 98 percent of our fresh figs.  Although the fig is considered a fruit, it is actually a flower that is inverted into itself.  (For the sake of cataloging, I’ll be putting any fig recipes into my fruit section, as I don’t think I have enough flower recipes to merit the addition of another category.)  This “fruit” provides more fiber than any other common fruit or vegetable and is fat-, sodium-, and cholesterol-free.  Figs also have higher mineral content than many of the other common fruits.  One serving of figs contains almost 10% of your daily potassium, 6% of calcium, and 6% of iron.  Figs contain natural humectants—properties that extend freshness and moistness in baked products.  Figs are very delicate and bruise easily, and should be kept in the refrigerator once they have become ripe, where they will stay fresh for about 2 days.  Dried figs, on the other hand, will stay fresh for several months, and don’t have to be stored in the refrigerator, as long as they are kept in a cool, dark place.

Feasting On Fresh Figs

California Figs

My family has had a wonderful time learning about California figs.  So far we have only used the fresh figs, as we had so many that I was worried about using them all before they went bad!  There are actually five different varieties of California figs, and each is very different: Kadota, Black Mission, Sierra, Brown Turkey, and Calimyrna.

5 varieties of fresh California figs

Kadota Figs

Kadota Figs

The Kadota fig has a green/yellow skin that is on the thicker side and creamy amber colored flesh.  The flesh is sweet as honey and has been called “natures candy.”

Black Mission Figs

Black Mission Figs

The Black Mission fig is tear-drop shaped with a thin black skin and reddish flesh, with a distinct mildly sweet flavor.

Sierra Figs

Sierra Figs

The Sierra fig is a new hybrid that has a thicker yellow-green skin, which helps protect the fruit against splitting when the climate changes, and amber colored flesh, and looks a lot like the Kadota fig.  The flesh is milder and not as sweet as the Kadota flesh, but still delicious and creamy.

Brown Turkey Figs

Brown Turkey Figs

The Brown Turkey fig has brownish/copper-colored skin with hints of purple, yellow, and green, and a mostly pink/red flesh mixed with a bit of white flesh.  They have a wonderful fragrant flavor.

Calimyrna Figs

Calimyrna Figs

The Calimyrna fig has golden skin and tender yellow-golden orange flesh.   Many people consider the Calimyrna to be the most delicious of all the varieties and refer to it as “the filet mignon of figs”, with it’s sweet flesh that has a distinct nut-like flavor.  They are extremely perishable and so are often dried in order to preserve them.

Fresh California Figs Giveaway!

Fresh California Figs ready to be eaten

I cannot wait to share with you what we did with our figs, so come back each day this week to see how we used them (other than eating them straight)!  But to get us started on our week of figgy goodness, how about a giveaway?  The California Fig Advisory Board has agreed to help me share the fruits of fig season by sending one of YOU a box of figs!

The giveaway is now closed! To enter the giveaway, just leave me a comment telling me your favorite way to enjoy fresh figs! If you have never eaten a fig, tell me which variety you are most interested in tasting!  I will keep the comments open until Thursday, August 26th, 10 PM PST, and announce the winners (using a random number generator) on Friday, August 27th.  This giveaway is open to US addresses ONLY.

Bonus Entries:

2. Follow @fujimama on Twitter. RT this post and then come back and leave a separate comment telling me you’ve done so. NOTE: You must be following @fujimama for this entry to count.  You can even just copy and paste this tweet to make it easy: @fujimama Fresh California Figs giveaway—win a box of fresh California Figs!

3. Become a fan on Facebook. Come back and leave a separate comment telling me you’ve done so.

4. Become a fan of the California Fig Advisory board on Facebook.  Come back and leave a separate comment telling me you’ve done so.

5. Sign up for our RSS Feed or Email Subscription.  Come back and leave a separate comment telling me you’ve done so (or if you’re already a subscriber).


* Figgy References:

* Disclosure: The California Fig Advisory Board provided me with the fresh and dried figs.  I was under no obligation to write about the figs.

jenjenk August 23, 2010 at 1:39 pm

nomnomnom…love, love, love these figs. wonderful, sweet, delicious…can’t sing enough of its praises.

or of the goodies you brought!! YUM…

Jessica @ How Sweet August 23, 2010 at 1:40 pm

Ahhh! I love figs and can only find them around here for a short period of time. My favorite way is with yogurt and honey. Or wrapped in bacon!

elizabeth August 23, 2010 at 1:41 pm

I LOVE figs. Usually I just eat them raw, but I also like Black Mission Figs with a little gorgonzola. In the winter, when figs are out of season, the pizza place by me makes a pizza with dried figs and balsamic that I adore.

kat August 23, 2010 at 1:46 pm

since I’m still in hawaii, I’m entering this wonderful giveaway! love fresh figs (a little heated) with a drizzle of honey, crumble of bleu cheese and scattering of walnuts.

elaine August 23, 2010 at 1:48 pm

I have never eaten a fresh fig. Not sure I have seen one here. However, I love fig newtons. Would love to try these!

Allison Day August 23, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Can you believe… I’ve never had figs? (Unless you count Fig Newtons, but I’m pretty sure those don’t count.) But those Kadota figs sound delicious… as do the Calimyrna figs… and, well, all of them sound pretty good, actually.

Brie August 23, 2010 at 1:53 pm

ooo, figs! i love figs on salted flatbread and topped with brie, cooked and melted together on a pizza stone in the oven. delicious!

Malika Ramey August 23, 2010 at 1:53 pm

I love figs with a slice of havarti cheese and wrapped in prosciutto…
Yummy! I hope I win :)

Malika Ramey August 23, 2010 at 1:53 pm

I’m a facebook fan of urs.

Brie August 23, 2010 at 1:54 pm

tweeted about the giveaway!

Malika Ramey August 23, 2010 at 1:55 pm

I’m a facebook fan of the Cali fig board now.

Zahra Duffy August 23, 2010 at 1:58 pm

I love fresh figs as they are…fresh and tasty! No embellishments needed.

Alicia M August 23, 2010 at 2:00 pm

I have never had a fresh fig. Just based on your descriptons I think I would love to try the kadota fig.

Roberta August 23, 2010 at 2:00 pm

I’ve never eaten fresh figs…just preserves ;) So I wouldn’t know which one to try if I won but I do love cheese and would rely on you to help me pick one to go with cheese and crackers and olives for a carpet picnic ;) Looking forward to reading your recipes and how you are going to use them. Thanks Fuji Mama

ps…you girls are always so sweet!

sara August 23, 2010 at 2:01 pm

I love figs roasted with vanilla beans and served with honey ice cream. YUM…best dessert ever!

Paula - bell'alimento August 23, 2010 at 2:01 pm

What a fabulous informative post & GREAT giveaway! My favorite is fig preserves Swoon!

Alicia M August 23, 2010 at 2:01 pm

I am already a Facebook fan of yours!

Paula - bell'alimento August 23, 2010 at 2:01 pm

I am following Fuji Mama on Facebook, because she rawks ; )

Paula - bell'alimento August 23, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Tweet Tweet ; )

Paula - bell'alimento August 23, 2010 at 2:02 pm

I’m already a subscriber because Fuji Mama is a rawkstar ; )

sara August 23, 2010 at 2:02 pm

I subscribe to the RSS feed as well.

sara August 23, 2010 at 2:03 pm

I’m also a fan of your site on Facebook.

Alicia M August 23, 2010 at 2:04 pm

I also tweeted about this @peanutsmom04 .

Alicia M August 23, 2010 at 2:05 pm

I am also now a fan of California Fig Advisory Board at Facebook!

Nisa August 23, 2010 at 2:08 pm

I’ve never had a fresh fig, but I’d love to try a Kadota fig!

ClassicKitchenTwist August 23, 2010 at 2:08 pm

No fresh figs here! I would eat them plain, sweet, savory, any way!

ClassicKitchenTwist August 23, 2010 at 2:28 pm

also just like both on fb!

Olga @ MangoTomato August 23, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Crossing all my fingers and toes to win this. LOVE figs! I love them in salads with blue cheese or on sanwiches with brie. Or just drizzled with a bit of honey and eaten with ricotta.

Kenny August 23, 2010 at 2:08 pm

I too have never eaten fresh figs, just preserves. I’d love to try the Black Mission Figs.

Joy August 23, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Plain with a little brie. I only get the opportunity to have fresh figs once in a while.

Anna August 23, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Either made into a jam or just fresh slices wrapped in prosuitto. Yum!.

Kelly August 23, 2010 at 2:13 pm

I’ve never had a fresh fig. The only figs I’ve ever had have been in Fig Newtons – which I love. :) It wasn’t until I became interested in food blogs that you could even do much with them. Boy, was I in for a surprise. I don’t ever remember seeing them for sale around here (northern Indiana) so they were WAY off my radar and seemed SOOOO exotic. Still do, actually. :) I’d love a chance to win a box of them.

I’m intrigued by the Kadota variety. They sound amazing.

MAC August 23, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Well, there’s no way I could resist this one! I adore a fresh fig, any fresh fig, but will admit that the Black Mission are my all time favorite. The thin skin allows you easily take a bite. I especially enjoy them cut lengthwise with a little brie spread right across the middle – mouth is watering and I’m thinking I need to get a farmers market this week for sure! The mix of the sweet fig and the savory slight salty brie is slice of heaven.

MAC August 23, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Twitter RT done!

Kelly August 23, 2010 at 2:18 pm
She's Cookin' August 23, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Your posts are interesting, informative and delicious! My favorite is pairing figs with gorgonzola on a cheese plate or on a flatbread “pizza” with carmelized onion.

MAC August 23, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Found CA Fig Advisory Board on Facebook under California Fig (search) if that helps anyone. :-) And I “like” them!

She's Cookin' August 23, 2010 at 2:18 pm

I follow you on Twitter :)

MAC August 23, 2010 at 2:19 pm

On Facebook I’m already a friend of La Fuji Mama and of course I “Like” you! ;-)

MAC August 23, 2010 at 2:19 pm

Already subscribe, and happy to do so :-)

She's Cookin' August 23, 2010 at 2:21 pm

I’ve been following you and now I “Like” you on FB too!

Therese August 23, 2010 at 2:24 pm

I’ve always wanted to try figs, but never new what to do with them. I was recently as our local coop and a customer there was asking about getting large boxes of figs. That made me all the more curious about what can be done with them. I always love trying something new.

If I had to choose which one of these pretty little fruits I’d like to try it would be the Calimyrna Figs. It only makes sense to do this if this variety is a favorite!

AmyS August 23, 2010 at 2:26 pm

When I see figs I think of the Black Mission fig tree that grew in the back of my grandma’s house. There was always a chase to get to the figs before the birds. I remember the taste of the juicy figs and all the things grandma would make with them. Wonderful memories!

suki August 23, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Wow, this is absolutely amazing! :) We just bought some figs from Whole Foods. I’m still not sure what to do with them, besides just peeling them open and eating them. I hear they are great with cheese? :D

Tyra August 23, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Ohhh… those are so pretty! And they look delicious! Honestly? I have never had a fresh fig, just have had them in various tapas. They are delicious though and I can’t wait to be able to try a fresh one!!!

Ally August 23, 2010 at 2:30 pm

My favorite way to eat figs is in a homemade fig chutney…omg, blissssssss!

Ally August 23, 2010 at 2:31 pm

I am now a fan of the CA Fig Advisory Board on FB! <3

Ally August 23, 2010 at 2:31 pm

I am a LA Fuji Mama fan on FB! :)

Jacob's Kitchen August 23, 2010 at 2:32 pm

I LOVE LOVE LOVE fresh figs. Sadly, here in the pacific northwest, they don’t seem to be widely commercially available, so when I am able to find them they are a special treat. My favorite way to enjoy them is to take a fresh fig, make an X cut from the stem end down almost all the way to the base and splay it open. Add a crumble of your favorite blue cheese, a sprinkling of chopped toasted walnuts, and a drizzle of your favorite honey. It is amazing! I am drooling just thinking about it now…. serious yum. great post! =)

Kensho August 23, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Figs are the Universe’s way of reminding us where we are from.

Jacob's Kitchen August 23, 2010 at 2:33 pm

I followed you on twitter and retweeted. @Jacobs_Kitchen


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