Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Late Summer Harvest

Recently our plums and figs have started to ripen!  Our regular purple plums came and went a few weeks ago but these golden plums are just perfect right now.  And they are absolutely delicious.

The figs just ripened up out of nowhere in the last couple weeks, too.  We'd never eaten figs fresh off the tree and actually had to do a little bit of research. 

It turns out that figs can be eaten whole, skins and all, but they are a little bit tricky.  Primarily, the sap of the fig tree is apparently a proteolytic enzyme, which destroys proteins in human skin.  When figs are not fully ripe they ooze a milky white sap from the tip when picked.  If it touches your skin it can irritate or even burn.  When eaten, the sap in the skin can make your mouth itchy, numb or sore.  The effects are reduced the riper the fig is.  We have also been cutting our figs into smaller pieces to reduce the contact our lips and mouth have with the skin.  While we've fortunately not experienced it first hand, we've heard that spiders and ants will climb inside the fig as well so cutting it up is a good way to check for critters.  Another fun fact:  Figs are not a fruit, but a infructescence, which is basically a cluster of flowers.

Here is our harvest from just one day last week:

Bonus:  our neighbor doesn't like figs but she loves those golden plums so we were lucky enough to be able to trade for some fresh eggs from her chickens!  They made a delicious breakfast this weekend.

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