One thing about the end of summer that I love: fresh figs, so delicate and about to burst open with sticky, sweet juices. Long revered in art and history, it is thought that it was a fig that was the forbidden fruit, not the apple. Native to southwestern Asia and the Mediterranean region, figs have been a part of the diets of many cultures throughout time. It was one of the first plants cultivated by humans - fossil records going back 9500 years show that figs predate the cultivation of wheat and legumes.
There are three common types of figs in the United States: Turkey, Mission, and Adriatic. Turkey figs tend to be larger in size, while the Mission figs are often the sweetest. A versatile fruit, figs can be grilled, stewed, baked, eaten raw, made into jam, and baked in pastries and other baked goods.
How do you like your figs?
(Image: Kathryn Hill)