There’s a reason 98% of domestic fresh figs come from California – the warm, California sunshine provides the right climate for growing delicious and nutritious figs. And, thanks to an un-seasonally warm start to the summer, the 2013 fresh California fig season is officially underway two weeks ahead of schedule. According to California’s fig farmers, the main crop harvest is bountiful and fresh figs grown in California will be plentiful until mid-December.
“Chefs and consumers can delight in the excellent quality of the 2013 crop now available across all varieties – Black Mission, Brown Turkey, Calimyrna, Kadota, Sierra and Tiger, a new variety that can be identified by its subtle green stripes and striking raspberry color and flavor notes,” says Karla Stockli, chief executive officer, California Fresh Fig Growers Association.
With fruit now available in stores, California fig farmers offer the following tips as a reminder when purchasing fresh figs, including:
- Look for the softest figs; a soft texture indicates the fruit is ready to consume immediately.
- Don’t be concerned about small slits or tears in the skin as long as the fig has a fresh aroma.
- Fresh figs are delicate. Handle gently.
- Keep figs in the refrigerator for as long as five to seven days.
Too many to eat right away? Just rinse and freeze. Simply arrange in a single layer on a pan and put in the freezer. Transfer frozen figs to a sealed plastic bag, where they can be kept in the freezer for up to six months. Avoid figs with a fermentation odor; it indicates that the fruit is overripe.
Stockli adds that everything except the stem is edible, and figs can be enjoyed by themselves or combined with other favorite summertime foods. Each variety has unique and different flavors. A source of dietary fiber, fresh, flavorful California figs are also high in antioxidants, fat-free, sodium-free and cholesterol-free.