The figs #ikaria

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Honestly, if I asked you to choose the one true flavor of summer, what would come first to mind? For me, it would be figs. Why not the watermelon, you might ask, or even melons, peaches, or grapes? Or so many others… well, yeah, ok.

My answers would still be figs, and I’m not taking it back, no matter what you say. Let me explain:

First, no watermelon, or melon vine has ever provided me with a shadow to rest under it, even while I worry that drops of fig milk might run on me and leave me itching for days.

Second, there is no way to find figs out of season. You cannot buy them anywhere fresh before the end of July, and the wait is important on its own.

You see, fig trees do not prosper in green houses, they don’t “fit” there, and, to be honest, there is no one to appreciate their shade.

Third, since there is no way to force them to ripen before their time, there is no point in cutting them early and conserving them in the fridge. You must cut them off the tree at exactly the right moment, and their taste is always full… of fig!

I like the fact that a little before they reach the perfect ripe state, their look becomes deceitful. You look at them and think they are ready at last, you reach to squeeze them a little bit, to try them, and find them a bit too firm, still.

A few minutes later you see another passerby trying the same thing, and you yell “They’re not ready yet!”

And the days pass, your mouth watering at the thought of figs, until they are finally ready, and you cut them and place them in a beautiful bowl. My personal favorites are the white ones (green), that are red on the inside. There are also the ones that are black on the outside and brown on the inside, and finally the green on the outside and brown on the inside. All of them equally superb!

And don’t forget the dried figs, an excellent winter snack, served with cinnamon and a drink next to the fireplace.

But now it’s summer and everything is almost ripe, so get out, and cut some figs before the wasps get to them first.

Theodosia Karimali for

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