September 21st, 2012
Figs probably ripen a bit later in England than in the rest of Europe, but in spite of a very rainy spring and summer, my friend Kiki’s tree has produced a bumper crop this year.
Figs are indigenous to the Middle East, but cultivation spread from Egypt to Greece, then throughout the Roman Empire and eventually to Northern Europe and the Americas.
Interestingly, the fig is dependent on the fig wasp to pollinate the flower by crawling in to it to lay eggs in the seed pod. The fruity flesh which we eat, is actually made up of flowers and seeds – there can be as many as 1,000!
Fig trees can produce two crops per year – there’s a spring crop growing on last year’s shoots and the main, autumnal, crop growing on the current year’s shoots. The leaves are of course infamous, as used by Adam and Eve to cover their genitals and throughout history as a similar shield for nudity in art.
Eat them now – they are in season!