The first time I ever saw, touched, and tasted a fresh fig was a revelation. My knowledge of figs until then was mostly confined to Fig Newtons. I didn’t even know what a fresh fig looked like until I saw it at a health food store in Santa Cruz, CA in the late 70s.
The texture of the fruit was the biggest surprise. The skin was thin but firm, the inner flesh soft, and in the center were small seeds that added a slight crunchiness to the whole experience. It tasted sweet, but softly so, especially in comparison to dried figs.
Recently I found three types of fresh figs in my local market: Brown Turkey, Kadota, and Black Mission. Brown Turkey figs are some of the largest. Kadotas are smaller and green in color. Black Mission are dark purple and can range in size from small to medium. They’re usually the softest figs, so they can spoil rather quickly, usually by molding. Kadotas are firmer and drier. Brown Turkeys fall in between the two other varieties in texture and moistness of flesh. Black Missions are my favorite.
Black Mission figs are wetter. They have a more translucent quality. That additional soft ripeness is what makes them the most flavorful.
Fresh, ripe figs, raspberries, and peaches are some of my favorite fruits of summer; they’re so delectable that I usually serve them simply. You can’t go wrong with a plate of fresh figs and proscuitto ham, it makes for a delicious taste and texture combination. In my household everyone enjoys this simple dish, from David to MM. Easy perfection.