In case you are like most individuals, once 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 all the pieces 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 program. In addition to having a candy fruity style, they’re nutrient-rich and a scrumptious selection for snacks or including to baked good and savory dishes.
Each recent and dried figs are low in energy and include a negligible quantity of fats. They’re a superb supply of fiber and potassium in addition to containing different important minerals, resembling magnesium, calcium and iron. Athletes will munch on a number of dried figs as a fast power pick-me-up, as they’re one of many few dried fruits that include a superb quantity of pure sugar with out added sugars.
There are 4 main forms of figs grown in america: 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 next 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 forms of fig timber, can’t survive within the Alabama local weather. Some really useful varieties that develop properly in Alabama embody Celeste, Jap Brown Turkey, Alma, LSU Purple, LSU Gold and Kadota.
Fig timber ought to be planted whereas they’re dormant, with spring being the perfect time. They develop greatest in well-drained soil with a pH of 5.8 to six.5. Plant in full solar and away from competing timber and shrubs that can use water and vitamins wanted by the fig tree.
The basis system of fig timber is often shallow, so it’s usually really useful 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 situations are dry.
Including natural matter, resembling peat moss or compost, is advantageous for fig development and will 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 extra development is desired, repeat the above charges or use an entire fertilizer, resembling 8-8-8, at a charge of eight ounces per plant. Ensure to water completely earlier than extra fertilization. Don’t fertilize previous June. It will sluggish the onset of recent development earlier than winter.
Fig timber are skilled as a multiple-trunk tree. Through 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 development has began. Most figs type on new wooden, and pruning permits for correct solar publicity and air motion.
If a frontrunner turns into broken or dies, take away it and another useless 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 slightly give when pressed. Stored within the fridge at 40 to 43 levels with humidity round 75 p.c, fruit will maintain for about 8 days. Saved at 32 to 35 levels and humidity close to 95 p.c supplies as much as 30 days of storage life.
As soon as faraway from chilly storage, the shelf life is just 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 happy gardening.