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Monday, July 26, 2021

Figs, Figs, Figs

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Louisiana fig recipes bring out the best of this local fruit

Louisiana is ripe with figs this time of year, and so far, the crops have been pretty exceptional considering our late winter freeze. Relatively easy to grow and care for, they are native to Western Asia and the Middle East. With now being the time to harvest, we wanted to share a few excellent ways for you to enjoy this delicious fruit.

We reached out to Quicy L. Vidrine, M. Ed, CHC, with LSU Ag Center for a couple of recipes to tickle your palate from the fruit of your bountiful plant.

Area nurseries offer a variety of figs, and you can also root or propagate your own from cuttings from an established plant. Crops generally are ready in July, but a later harvest can last till year-end.

Some recommendations include Celeste, LSU Purple and LSU Gold, developed by the LSU AgCenter.

Figs are deciduous and should be planted fall through early spring. They can grow from 10-30 feet in height, so allow room for a spread of 10- 15 feet. The trees need at least six hours of sun to produce fruit, found on new growth. Generally, you can expect your first crop in the third or fourth year after planting.

Strawberry-Fig Jam

Ingredients:

• 3 cups mashed figs

• 2 (3-ounce) packages strawberry-flavored gelatin

• 3 cups sugar

• ½ lemon, sliced

Method:

1. Wash, remove stems, peel and mash figs.

2. Place figs, gelatin, sugar and lemon slices in a large stockpot and bring to a boil.

3. Lower heat and continue to boil 3-5 minutes, stirring often.

4. Remove lemon slices from mixture and discard them.

5. Pour hot preserves into jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace.

6. Remove foam, if desired. 7. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel.

8. Place lids and rings on jars – not too tight. 9. Process in a boiling water canner for 5 minutes.

YIELD: About six half-pint jars

Fig & Feta Salad with Toasted Louisiana Pecans

Ingredients:

• ½ cup Louisiana pecans

• 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

• 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

• ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

• Pinch of salt, to taste

• 24 fresh figs, any variety – stems removed

• ½ cup feta cheese

Method:

1. Toast pecans in a skillet over medium/high heat, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool.

2. Combine vinegar, Dijon mustard, extra virgin olive oil, cayenne pepper and salt in a small bowl and whisk briskly to combine.

3. Cut washed and stemmed figs in half. Arrange on a plate or platter and sprinkle with feta cheese and toasted pecans.

4. Drizzle with vinaigrette and garnish with fresh chopped basil, if desired.

Recipes by Quincy L. Vidrine, M. Ed, CHC LSU AgCenter Area Nutrition Agent – Franklin & Caldwell Parishes

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