One of the greatest discoveries upon moving to Northern California was the fig tree in the back yard of my apartment building. I could hardly believe the bounty of fruit this tree gave me that first autumn. Since then, I have set about collecting all the ways of using figs that I can possibly can. Love figs? What do you do with them?
1. Cook figs with oatmeal. Simmered in a pot of oatmeal, both fresh and dried figs turn into jammy fruit pockets.
2. Roast figs with honey. Figs caramelize and become even more richly sweet when roasted. Serve as an appetizer with nuts and cheese or as dessert over ice cream.
3. Make a fig tart. There's nothing better than a thin slice of fresh fig tart with a spoonful of creme fraiche for dessert. Classy and satisfying.
4. Stuff figs with cheese and bake. Soft cheeses like goat and mascarpone are best. Wrap them in prosciutto or bacon for an uber-appetizer.
5. Make fig jam. Spread this over toast, spoon it onto yogurt, or steal a spoonful all by itself.
6. Roast figs with meat. If you're cooking up a big roast for Sunday dinner, throw a few figs in the pan. They cook slowly in the juices and add a sweet note to the savory sauce.
7. Add figs to salads. Whole figs halves are great in green salads. I also like to mix chopped figs into warm grain salads.
8. Make fig chutney for cheese platters. Instead of making jam, simmer chopped figs with a few sprigs of thyme and add some caramelized onions for a savory chutney. Terrific with cheese and crackers.
9. Add figs to muffins, scones, and cookies. Chopped figs can be folded right into the batter for muffins and other baked goods. Or try something different and make these Bakewell Tarts with the whole fig!
10. Make a fig cocktail. Figs make an especially good companion to bourbon, rum, port, and other dark spirits. (Try this Fig Old Fashioned!)
What do you like to do with figs?
Related: How to Select and Store Figs
(Image: Nancy Mitchell)