Sunday, August 21, 2011

Fruit of the Month - Black Jack Figs

It is that time once again, to drape the net over the fig tree. The birds are pecking at the fruits even as the skin of the fig fruits are starting to split, signaling time to reduce water to the plant. The Black Jack Figs plant is one of the most prolific fruit plant in my garden. It produces 2 crops a year. I rooted 2 cuttings in early spring for my garden in the new house in Temecula. (Incidentally, the wall garden  for my tropical garden in the new house is up !) I was surprised the other day by a delicious purple fig at the top of one of the cuttings. Yes, it is that easy to propagate a fig tree. The Black Jack Fig is a large purple longish purple fruit with a strawberry red flesh - sweet and juicy. Figs in the market is never as good as from your own garden when you can pick it when it is fully ripe. I like to pick it when it almost falls into my hand when I pluck it ..... but as you can see I am not able to wait sometime. The problem with waiting for optimum ripeness is that the birds might beat you to it even with the net over the tree. For me in San Diego it fruits from July through October and sometimes November. The beauty of this plant is at summer end, when all the eating is done, baby embryonic figs form like bumps on branches, letting you know here's your next crop. In spring it swells up with warmer temperature.

I recently read in an Italian cookbook I bought, how the author's mom used to pluck a fig leaf and use it to stir warm milk making a soft cheese. The `milky sap' of the fig tree acts as a renin used in cheese making. I am going to try it soon!

8/7/11 Tree laden with fruits

Fig ripening and getting its purple color. Not fully ripe yet

8/7/11 Lots o green figs

8/7/11 Figs swelling up 

Could not wait! Figs were sweet but would be better if fully purple

8/18/11 Figs are deep purple almost black in color

8/18/11 Figs in various stages of ripeness


Embryonic figs starting to swell as weather warms in  spring

No comments:

Post a Comment