‘I’m really sorry, you’re going to have to help me out here’, said the young man at the checkout. ‘What is this?’
‘It’s a fresh fig’, I smiled, trying my best not to look condescending. After all, I am very lucky and have eaten many a fresh fig or dried fig, be it on it’s own, or ensconced in a dessert of some kind in my lifetime but there are a million and one things I’ve yet to try. Therefore, who am I to judge another’s life experience.
Interestingly, although fresh figs are not high on our shopping lists of ‘must have’s in autumn’, the fig is in our cultural conscience thanks to a little ditty about figgie pudding which does the rounds at Christmas. Something I think many of us will have joined in with, ‘in a hearty fashion’, after one too many sweet sherries. Or is that just me? Anyway, I digress.
Despite fresh figs appearing like purple teardrops in a sea of orange around this time of year, they do not seem to be as widely eaten as you would imagine, and that is a real shame. I mean, what is not to love? They have the most glorious deep matt purple skins, and have a wonderful onion dome shape to them, which is always so appealing to me.
Then you slice inside and a firework display of colour explodes before your very eyes. It’s beautiful.
Of course the thing about food is that you buy it to eat it. And this is also where I feel the fig excels. The skin is sweet, but not overpowering, chewy but not rubbery. The flesh inside is delicate, almost peach like in texture, and has a subtle sweetness to it that leaves your palette feeling fresh.
I have to say, they are glorious, and, at the moment, there’s a whole heap of them in the shops. So if you do just one thing this weekend, treat yourself to a fresh fig, you won’t be disappointed.
Just a little word of warning though, when slicing the fig, be sure not to cut through it with a knife you’ve just been using to chop onions…
*blushes at rookie mistake*