I am ordering my usual weekly fruit and vegetable box, when an image of figs catches my eye. A long time lover of figs, I wait for fig season every year without fail, which only a fig lover would truly understand. September is peak fig season and the best time to buy flavoursome, juicy, and naturally sweet figs. I order a box of figs right away, my mind abuzz with all the possibilities. After a day of recipe testing, I keep the last few fresh figs to savour at breakfast the next morning.
Grown on the widely cultivated ficus tree, figs are packed with antioxidants, fiber, and immunity boosters from their natural antibacterial and antifungal agents. The trees supply us with nutrient dense figs for only three months of the year - August till October, if you’re in the northern hemisphere. They can be eaten raw, cooked or dried, but raw is by far the best in terms of nutrition.
Their shelf life after harvesting isn’t very long so it’s best to keep them refrigerated. After a day or two you’ll notice a few will develop soft spots and look jammy inside, although they are super sweet and tastier when eaten. If you you’re not a fan of soft figs, try this naturally sweetened fig spread, with honey and lemon. Overripe figs are the best to use for this recipe as you’ll get the most out of nature’s sweetest candy.
Makes 390ml / 13oz
4 large figs, chopped (I don’t peel them)
2 tablespoons raw honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
grated rind of 1/2 a lemon
Place all the ingredients into a small pot. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook uncovered for about 30 minutes, stirring and mashing the figs frequently.
The spread is ready when the liquid evaporates and the mixture is thick and soft. Use a potato masher at the end if you prefer a less chunky spread.
Store in a sterilised jar in the refrigerator.