August 29, 2009


Ripe figs on the tree.August has been the month for harvesting our figs. I discovered that they were ripe after we got home from Pennsylvania.

It's funny, because I never would have considered planting fig trees, but I am so happy that they are already here and well established. The only thing with this, of course, is not knowing what variety they are. Not that it matters, I'm just curious is all. I read several descriptions of figs, online and in books. In some ways they fit the description of Celeste figs, but these are supposed to ripen in July. A variety with a similar description and an August ripening date is Magnolia. But who knows. No matter, that doesn't change how delighted we are to have them.

A closer look inside & out.DH and DD think they are delicious fresh, but I find them disappointingly bland pretty mild. I think I was hoping they'd have more of a flavor zing, but they don't.

So what am I doing with them? Well, besides eating them fresh ....

Home canned figs....I have canned five pints. I followed these directions, except that I used the cooking water as the base for the syrup (light recipe.) Then, I couldn't bear to throw away the cooking water and canning syrup. They totaled about a gallon, so I popped some Celestial Seasonings Sugar Plum Spice tea bags into a jar...

Fig tea.... YUM!.... and sun brewed up a delicious batch of fig tea.

I've also dehydrated some ....

Quart jar of dried figs.... made fig jam .....

Fig jam ready to be canned.And last but not least....

Fresh fig cake ... even yummier.... fresh fig cake!

And what good is a yummy looking photo without a recipe. Here is an adaptation which was a fortunate success...

Fresh Fig Cake

1 heaping cup fresh figs - halved or quartered
1/2 C butter, shortening, or margarine - softened
1 & 1/2 C sugar
1/4 C honey
2 eggs
2 C flour (I used white whole wheat)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cream butter & sugar. Beat in eggs. Mix together dry ingredients and gradually beat into batter. Add vanilla. Fold in figs. Pour into prepared bundt or tube pan. Bake about 50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes before turning out of pan.

I thought it was a little too sweet but DH says don't change a thing. Well, we aim to please so the recipe stands as is.

Fig links:
About Figs - facts and benefits
Figs - specific nutritional information
Fig Fruit Facts
Fig Facts & Picking Tips
Homemade Fig Jam
How to can figs

Figs! is copyright August 2009 by


  1. hhmmmm... that cake looks really yummeh! lucky you - we have a few figs outside in the garden, one in the glasshouse - but they never fruit or at least, if they do set one or two - they drop off and don't ripen!:(( they survive the mild winters, but apparently they'd need a bit more warmth and sunshine during the summer than they can get over here. amazing, that you even have enough to can or dry them!
    btw - no, I don't have anything to reduce the cooking "steam" - apart from doors and windows:))

  2. It all looks so yummy! I'll admit, I don't like figs and the 18 months I survived er lived in Los Angeles, there was a fig tree in the back yard. It was a messy tree.
    That cake looks good enough to give a whirl though and revisit a fig or two.

  3. I didn't know that you could make so much out of figs! I've never had a fig but your cake looks yummy!

  4. This looks so delicious! Fresh figs make me think of Italy. What a wonderful garden you have with figs and blueberries: all the best combined from North and South!

  5. oooh yummy! When I was a kid our neighbors had a fig tree. I wasn't so much interested in playing with the boys that lived there as I was getting at those figs...they didn't ever do anything with them so it was okay for me to eat them :D

    When we were in VA a few years back I was able to point out the fig trees at the Governor's Palace in Williamsburg to DD..she wasn't impressed, but I was. I never found out what they do with all the veggies they plant in that garden as they aren't needed to run the palace. LOL!

    It looks as if you found some really good ideas for what to do with your figs and that cake looks sooo yummy!

  6. I couldn't happen upon a post on figs (quite possibly the world's most perfect fruit) without commenting. Lovely photos and thank-you for sharing the recipe and links!

  7. Oh how I wish we could grow figs!! It's hard to get them to produce fruit here, they need a glasshouse. What lovely eye candy these photos are! Shall go and console myself with a boring old bit of chocolate...

    Just thought, maybe we have a plant that loves our climate you can't grow, rhubarb? Other reliable all weather plants for the north of England include red and white currants, and gooseberries. Do you have any of those?

  8. I know for quite certain that I've never had a fresh fig. I don't think they even sell them in the stores here - at least I've never notices them. But I do like Fig Newtons - so I can only imagine that all the stuff you made with them will be tasty. T.

  9. I've never eaten fresh figs. They sure do look good. Glad to see you're using them in so many different ways. Thanks for the cake recipe. Sounds and looks great.

  10. One of the things that I've learned about figs is how many different kinds there are. I'm used to the fig newton kind too Tina, and so was surprised that mine turned light green and yielded a pinkish cooking water! Theresa, the kind of fig may make a big difference in it's likability.

    Bettina and Dorothy, its interesting that you can grow fig plants but can't get fruit without a protected environment.

    Dorothy, one of the things I'd love to grow but am not sure about is rhubarb. My grandmother grew it in her garden and my dad loved it stewed. I suspect that our summers are too hot for it, but I may give it a go sometime anyway. You're probably correct about the currents and gooseberries, though I'm not as tempted to try those as rhubarb.

    And for those of you who've never tried fresh figs, this is a "must" at least once in your lifetimes!

  11. The wonders of life never stop...look at all you have done with the figs!! Each pictures is beautiful and you have caught the mouth watering essence of the fig!!

  12. Those figs are beautiful and the cake looks delicious. I'll have to try it. I've never canned figs and I'll be interested to learn how they came out and how you use them. My grandmothers both had fig trees...I guess I need to plant some now.

  13. Fig sorbet is really nice as well! and dried fig and walnut bread....

  14. Flower, thank you! It's been a lot of fun and my only regret is that I didn't have more to experiment with. Now I'm curious as to how the canned and dried figs will turn out. There are tons of recipes out there for dried figs. The hardest part will be choosing the ones to try.

    13moons, you definitely need to plant some fig trees! You probably have some favorite memories or recipes from your grandmothers' fig gathering.

    Sampling, fig sorbet sounds absolutely yummy! You wouldn't happen to have the recipe handy, would you?:)

  15. Fig sorbet:
    Sugar syrup: 1 cup sugar dissolve into 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon glucose syrup.
    Fruit pulp: scoop out flesh from skin and lightly process to break up flesh. approx equal volume to sugar syrup.(so if you have less pulp, don't have to use up all the syrup.)
    Mix together with some lemon juice and put in ice cream maker. Add lemon juice to taste. It can get a bit sweet depending on the figs. Remember that it will be sweeter before it is frozen.
    This proportion pretty much works for most fruit - apricots, plums, mangoes, etc.

  16. We shall....see, mine just went into the oven. :)

  17. Loved this recipe. Didn't love the figs so much. I actually made this gluten free. I will be making this again this week but without the figs. We are just not a fan of figs in a cake. (I found this out later) I did add a tablespoon of sour cream and a tablespoon of cream cheese and I sifted the flour. It was awesome!

  18. Renee, I hope it was as good as ours!

    Bondi, I think you could substitute anything you wanted. Dates would be good! Or blueberries, or cherries! The sour cream and cream cheese sound like a yummy addition!

  19. Great recipe, I love figs and make everything from fig tarts yummm to fig preserves. I've got 2 new fig trees and hoping that they survived the winter. I can't even fathom not having figs around ...

  20. Bea, welcome and thank you! I have to say that your mention of fig tarts sounds pretty good too!


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