Fig Preserves: Gulf-Coast Favorite Making a Comeback


Bowl of Figs

Prior to the 1960s, the fig tree was a ubiquitous fixture in many home landscapes in the Houston area. As the baby boomers bought houses, they drifted away from the more bushy and spreading habit of the messy fig tree in favor of taller more vertical ornamental trees. However, it seemed that everyone’s grandmother had a fig tree -- which meant every summer, they had fig jam.

As a child, fig jam never really appealed to me. It was very foreign looking with big chunks of fruit, but the “old” folks loved it and eagerly awaited its arrival. It appears that recently, the fig tree is making a comeback. Every year, you see more and more of them peeking over backyard fences loaded with fruit and opportunistic birds. We are one of those houses. Our fig tree, chosen by a child and once relegated to a pot, was planted a few years ago along the wrought iron fence in our backyard -- primarily, in my mind, to give us some privacy. For the first two years in its new home, it grew slowly, dropping leaves and putting on new ones at seemingly random times of the year while producing few fruit and none larger than a marble. While it was slowly fulfilling its role as a privacy screen, the lack of fruit made me start thinking about removing or replacing it with a different variety. This was rather odd to me, since I am not a huge fan of of figs, and other than preserves, I wasn’t quite sure what else to do with figs, but the allure of summer fruit, memories of Mimi’s fig tree and my Mediterranean blood kept me from getting rid of our little tree.

Slicing Figs

11/1/2017 8:06:47 PM

My wife and I grew up not knowing what a fresh fig from the tree looked or tasted like and when we moved to the southern midwest we decided to try it. This is our third year and our two Brown Turkey fig trees are beginning to produce decent crops and promise more in the years to come. We like them so much we decided to add four other varieties to the orchard to compare and enjoy. We added: Celestial, Desert King, Black Mission, and White Kadota. We're constantly surprised to learn that very few of the people we talk to (locally, as well as distant friends and relatives) are familiar with fresh figs either. The common reference is "Fig Newtons" and nothing could be farther from the real thing. We're slowly converting more and more of them by getting them to try one from the tree. Works every time!

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters