Figs are a luscious treat, so make the most of your own tree's yield, or find them at fruit shops.
Ideas for using figs
- Fig and goats' cheese salad
Make a gorgeous salad with rocket, toasted almond slivers, figs cut in chunks, and soft goat's cheese. Dress with a vinaigrette made from lemon juice, olive oil and runny honey. Perfect as a first course or a side salad.
- Roasted figs
Cut the stems off and cut a cross into the top of each fig. Drizzle in a little honey or apple syrup. Bake in a hot oven for 10-15 minutes. Serve with crème fraîche, plain yoghurt or ice- cream.
- Easy fig tarts
Take a sheet of ready-rolled low- fat pastry and cut into four squares. Spread each square with fig jam, then layer on sliced fresh figs. Bake in a hot oven until the pastry is crispy and the figs soft. Or lay thin figtop of a low-fat pastry spread with cream cheese. Sprinkle with brown sugar and bake until pastry is golden.
- Wine-poached figs
Combine red wine with a little sugar and heat gently until the sugar is dissolved. Stab figs a few times with a skewer, then put into the pot and simmer gently until they are tender. Serve hot or cold.
- Slow-dried figs
Slice figs in half and lay on an oven tray. Leave as they are, or can sprinkle with a little brown sugar. Cook in a very low oven (50°C) for several hours, until the figs have collapsed and partially dried. Lovely with breakfast cereal.
- Sophisticated starter
Slice fig in half and serve with fresh, chilled rock melon and prosciutto slices as a stunning starter.
- Meat accompaniment
Grill figs on the barbecue and serve with barbecued lamb racks, chops or steaks.
- Availability: A short season – February-late March.
Buying: Look for soft (not mushy) figs with no splits.
Storing: Fresh figs don't keep for long. Store in the fridge away from other fruit. Wash gently before use.
Nutrition: Figs are a naturally sweet treat – all their carbohydrate is in the form of sugars – but like most fruit they also add fibre, small amounts of vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants.