If you’re like most individuals, while you hear the phrase “fig” your thoughts goes instantly to the notorious Fig Newton cookie. Though having lengthy been related as simply the namesake ingredient in that cookie, figs have been bursting onto the culinary and dietary scene in the whole lot from jam to a pizza topping.
The cultivation of figs has reportedly been round since 5,000 B.C. and is a staple within the heart-healthy Mediterranean weight loss plan. In addition to having a candy fruity style, they’re nutrient-rich and a scrumptious alternative for snacks or including to baked good and savory dishes.
Each contemporary and dried figs are low in energy and comprise a negligible quantity of fats. They’re a wonderful supply of fiber and potassium in addition to containing different important minerals, reminiscent of magnesium, calcium and iron. Athletes will munch on a couple of dried figs as a fast vitality pick-me-up, as they’re one of many few dried fruits that comprise a very good quantity of pure sugar with out added sugars.
There are 4 main kinds of figs grown in the US: Smyrna, Caprifig, San Pedro and Frequent. Most figs can produce two or extra crops a yr. The primary crop is known as breba and the following crop as the principle crop.
Smyrna varieties require pollination to set crops. Caprifigs furnish the pollen wanted and a house for the pollinating bugs, the fig wasp. San Pedro figs don’t want pollination to set a breba crop; nonetheless, they do want it to set fruit for the principle crop.
The frequent fig can produce each breba and principal crops with out pollination. It’s the selection grown within the Southeast as a result of the fig wasp, which pollinates the opposite kinds of fig bushes, can’t survive within the Alabama local weather. Some advisable varieties that develop nicely in Alabama embrace Celeste, Jap Brown Turkey, Alma, LSU Purple, LSU Gold and Kadota.
Fig bushes must be planted whereas they’re dormant, with spring being one of the best time. They develop finest in well-drained soil with a pH of 5.8 to six.5. Plant in full solar and away from competing bushes and shrubs that can use water and vitamins wanted by the fig tree.
The foundation system of fig bushes is usually shallow, so it’s typically advisable to plant the fig tree two to a few inches deeper than they had been planted of their nursery container. They can even profit from common watering for the primary few years, particularly when circumstances are dry.
Including natural matter, reminiscent of peat moss or compost, is advantageous for fig progress and might be labored into the soil earlier than planting. Loosen the soil to accommodate the span of the roots to assist them set up simply. Three to 4 weeks after planting, apply two ounces of ammonium nitrate or 4 ounces of calcium nitrate in a circle roughly one foot from the bottom of the plant.
If further progress is desired, repeat the above charges or use a whole fertilizer, reminiscent of 8-8-8, at a charge of eight ounces per plant. Be sure to water totally earlier than further fertilization. Don’t fertilize previous June. This may sluggish the onset of recent progress earlier than winter.
Fig bushes are skilled as a multiple-trunk tree. In the course of the first winter, choose 4 to eight vigorous, extensively spaced shoots to function leaders, and take away all different shoots. Starting the second yr, prune again the bush by one-third to one-half the size of the shoots in early spring, after the hazard of frost however earlier than new progress has began. Most figs kind on new wooden, and pruning permits for correct solar publicity and air motion.
If a pacesetter turns into broken or dies, take away it and some other lifeless or diseased wooden, and select a brand new chief from one of many new shoots that develop in the course of the season.
Harvest fruit when it has a bit give when pressed. Stored within the fridge at 40 to 43 levels with humidity round 75 %, fruit will preserve for about 8 days. Saved at 32 to 35 levels and humidity close to 95 % supplies as much as 30 days of storage life.
As soon as faraway from chilly storage, the shelf life is simply about two to a few days. So, get these recipes for fig preserves, bacon wrapped figs, and pizza topped with fig, goat cheese and prosciutto prepared – it’s time to eat! Till subsequent week, completely satisfied gardening.