Thursday, September 15, 2011

Foraging for Figs

This week, my sister-in-law called me and asked, "Do you still want figs?" She was referring to a Facebook post in which I asked if anyone I knew had a fig tree and extra figs to share. (No one did.) I can never get enough figs, mostly because figs cost $5 a basket, and I eagerly asked what she might have in mind.

Her idea was to glean figs from a huge fig tree that she passes daily on the walk to her son's school. She had already stopped at the house numerous times to ask permission to pick some fruit, but never to found anyone home. Further, the fruit was hanging over the fence onto a public sidewalk and even falling onto the ground and rotting. In cases like this, I consider it a public service to pick the fruit that would otherwise rot and attract pests. Of course, the fact that figs are amongst my favorite fruits only sweetens the deal.

This was my first time foraging fruit from someone's tree besides family or friends. In truth, it felt a little sneaky at first, but my sister-in-law told us she would persist in visiting the house until she can talk to the owner about the figs and offer to pick the bulk of the fruit still on the tree.

We only got a few pounds of figs, but were still excited about the possibilities. Fresh figs don't last long once picked, so I decided on an impromptu fig-strawberry preserve using green apple (which contains natural pectin) to thicken it up. It turned out pretty good, and pairs excellently with cheese. When we have friends over this weekend, I intend to spread it on brie, tuck it into puff pastry and turn it into this:

Other fig ideas for when we glean again include Fig Upside Down Cake and Ginger Fig Preserves:

Are you a fig person? What is your favorite way to eat them?


  1. My mom's neighbor has the green variety, but last time I checked they weren't ready yet. But the brie w/ puff pastry idea sounds DE-lish!

  2. Hi Stacy. I learned a new word today: gleaning. I'll use the excuse that English wasn't my first language, but you'd think I would have come across this word at least once in my lifetime. Anyway, I know what you mean about feeling bad about picking fruit from other people's trees. I watch fruit hang heavy, drop, and rot on many properties in our area and have yet to find the nerve to ask if they'd like to share. Figs! Oh my. My husband loves them. And Fig Newtons are my favorite cookie. I envy your love for cooking, and from your pictures, it looks like you're pretty darn good at it. Alas, my husband is the cook in our house. Fortunately, he's good at it, too. Love your blog.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!