I’m always excited to see fresh figs for sale in shops, they have such a short season.

Figs are such delicate fruit, that it’s a real treat to feast on them when you can find them. Even just one, with it’s velvety skin, soft, sweet center and crunchy seeds feels so decadent and special.

Figs have a very ancient history, having grown on earth with dinosaurs a hundred million years ago. There are now about 750 different varieties, grown mainly in Turkey, California, Egypt, Iran, Greece, Algeria and Morocco. In the right conditions, figs will produce 2 crops in a year. The first flush in early summer from the buds of the previous year and again in autumn, from the buds of spring growth.

Like all fresh food, figs are very nutritious, with high levels of fiber, vitamins and minerals. They are particularly good sources of calcium, magnesium and potassium.

Look out for these rare and special globes of deliciousness, savour them when you see them.

Enjoy trying the recipes below.

What to look for in a fresh fig

Figs won’t ripen once they’re picked, they come in various shades of soft green, brown and purple depending on the variety. Look for a skin that is beginning to wrinkle, but not wizened, split, leaking or mouldy. Fruit that is heavy, soft and  yealds gently is ideal, avoid anything mushy. If you find your figs in a container, check the underside for any oozing or mould growth.

Upside down tart made with fresh fig halves cooked with stem ginger and ginger sponge

Fig and Ginger Tart

Makes 8 pieces

A delicious pudding made with fresh figs, this is easy to make and impressive to serve.

6 fresh figs

2 pieces stem ginger

75ml syrup from the ginger jar

75g butter

75g caster sugar

100g SR flour

2 eggs

1 tsp ground ginger

  1. Pre heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4
  2. Use an non stick, 20cm, oven proof frying pan and pour the syrup into the bottom of the pan.
  3. Half the figs and arrange cut side down into the bottom of the pan.
  4. Chop the ginger and scatter over the top of the figs.
  5. Beat the butter, sugar, flour, ground ginger and eggs together, spoon over the figs and level roughly.
  6. Put into the oven and cook for 30 – 40 mins, until the sponge is cooked.
  7. Remove from the oven, allow to cool for 15mins, cover the pan with a serving plate and turn over. The pudding should fall out of the pan. Serve warm.
A plate of figs wrapped in Parma ham and roasted with Gorgonzola

Fresh Figs with Parma Ham

Serves 4 as a starter, 2 as a main course

4 large fresh figs

4 tsp soft cheese – can be mild or sharp

8 slices Parma ham

1 tbsp chopped chives

    1. Pre heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6
    2. Cut the stalks off the figs and cut into quarters down almost to the base of the fig but keeping the quarters attached.
    3. Use your fingers to ease open the fig quarters, then stuff a teaspoon of cheese into the centre of each fig. Sprinkle over some chives.
    4. Wrap two slices of Parma ham around each fig, put onto a lightly greased baking sheet and roast in the oven for 10mins.
    5. Serve with a crisp salad.