Thursday, September 1, 2005

Lois Swanee
Museum Curator

Figs, better than a piece of chocolate fudge

Figs! God’s fruit! We are having a bumper crop of figs, big luscious, delicious figs this year. About ten years ago, my children gave me three fig trees to plant in my yard. What a gift! I looked forward all year to the end of July because that’s when the figs come in. They first give a bumper crop, then they keep bearing until October, but sparingly.

In the Bible, figs are spread from Genesis through Revelation and Jesus gave a parable about the fig trees. Remember Adam and Eve dressed in fig leaves to cover themselves. In other times figs have been used as coffee substitutes. 

Of course, the reason the figs are so delicious is the fact that they are 60 percent sugar, (That’s why I like them! They sweeten my disposition!) They say, in a four-gram serving, there are 244 milligrams of potassium, 53 milligrams of calcium and 12 milligrams of iron and I won’t mention the number of calories in each fig.

If you wait until the fig is really brown and ripe, that’s when they are best! They nearly turn into sugar. 

Fig trees have no blossoms, as the blossom is on the inside of the fruit and makes little seeds that make the unique texture of that delicious morsel. Some people don’t know how to eat figs and are missing one of the delights of life. If you eat a greenish one, it’s akin to eating a green persimmon, but if you wait until they are really ripe, it’s better than a piece of chocolate fudge.

Birds like figs as much as I do, so the birds and I vie for the figs. I love birds but love figs better. Each season I put up two fake owls in the top of the trees to scare the birds away from the figs. The other day I looked out and birds are sitting on the owls’ heads, using them for a handy perch. They forgot to be scared of owls. 

I like the looks of the fig trees in winter too. None of the bare branches are straight; they are all curly and crooked. They would be beautiful at Christmas strung up with lights and that way the fig trees would be working all year to make me happy.

Early each morning I go into my garden to collect myself for the day and for breakfast I eat the figs directly off the tree.

One day I noticed from inside my house that the fig tree was literally dancing. I went out there and in the tree was a big fat raccoon, gleefully gobbling my figs. I chased him away but the next day, he came back with his brothers and kin to eat supper. They finished off my figs that year and I’m glad to report they haven’t been back.

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