Today's little harvest of okra, beans, and burstingly ripe figs
If you've been keeping up with my personal blog, you're probably sick to death of pictures of figs. If so...I'm sorry. But it's fig season and I think they're one of the most perfect foods on this planet. Figs have long been a symbol of fertility and fecundity and the leaves were apparently used to cover Adam and Eve's naughty bits. What more could you ask for? I've seen recipes using the fig leaves much the same way you would use grape leaves in dolmas, but fig leaves have a bit of a funky smell to them. I love foraging in the fig tree for the ripe fruits/flowers, but the leaves always smell a wee bit like cat urine. Even the cats look affronted when I'm rustling through the leaves. Unless you live in a damn cold place, you should plant a fig tree in your yard. They're exceptionally hardy and will reward you year after year. We have three small trees and our snap frost last Easter killed one of them to the ground. It's main trunk may be dead, but it's shooting a fresh spray of new branches from its tenacious roots. My sister and I gave my parents a fig tree for their 30th anniversary. It was killed by a rogue frost about 6 years later, but came back the following year with fresh vigor. It now stands about 40 feet tall and is littered with near-ripe figs. It lives in a somewhat shady spot so it ripens a little slower than most, but that just means we can extend the fig season by about a month.
We visited a fig orchard last week near Stockbridge, GA called Taylor Organics. There were around 75 mature fig trees on the property and each one was studded with dark brown, red, or lime green figs. I had a bit of fig envy. I'm preparing the menu for the Fig episode that we're shooting this week but it's a bit hard to do when I keep eating the ingredients.
I'm working hard on my cookbook and can't help but be inspired by pictures like this one. The arugula in the garden is too bitter to eat now, but it's put its energy into the next generation. These miniature ivory flowers will spend the rest of these warm days dancing about on the wind, providing rich nectar for the neighborhood bees, and then magically give way to little black seeds that will burst out next spring and do it all over again. Pretty cool...
Another reason to love Arugula...it's beautiful!
Much to do...time for a fig. Gesundheit!