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Figs (Courtesy of Flickr user Martin LaBar)

Five Ways to Eat Fresh Figs

Fresh figs are wonderful! They're in season in many places right now, so enjoy them while you can.

I hope I didn't freak you out too much last week by pointing out that most figs have bugs in them—tiny wasps that basically dissolve within the fruit as it ripens—because fresh figs are wonderful! They're in season in many places right now, so enjoy them while you can.

Due to a vacationing neighbor's goodwill, my husband and I have been figging out for the past few days. We pick huge handfuls of figs from her tree each evening, and yet the ground is still splattered with surplus. Here are a few of the ways we've been enjoying them, thanks to your suggestions and other sources:

1) Maple Roasted Blue Cheese Figs

Slice off the stems, cut a small "X" in the top of the fig, and arrange on a foil-lined baking tray. Stuff a few pieces of blue cheese into the cut top of each fig. Drizzle with maple syrup and bake for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees. If it's a small batch, just use the toaster oven.

2) Nutty Grilled Figs

Slice figs in half lengthwise and toss in balsamic vinegar (the type we have is actually fig-infused, conveniently), then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Grill for about two minutes on each side, using a sheet of foil if figs are a smaller variety. Remove from grill and top with toasted or candied walnuts. I just came across a Whole Foods recipe that recommends drizzling on yogurt and then nuts, which sounds like a tasty variation.

3) Cognac-Soaked Fig Preserves

I took this drool-inducing Bon Appetit recipe for "drunken fig jam" and tweaked it slightly based on what I had on hand—cutting the batch size in half, substituting lime zest for lemon, and replacing some of the granulated sugar with cinnamon-spiced maple syrup. I also added 1/4 cup of lemon juice toward the end of the boiling process, since it seemed too sweet. Following the general jam-making instructions in The Joy of Cooking, I "plumped" the mixture in the fridge overnight—I'm not sure if that made a difference, but it gave me time to shop for canning jars. I never found any, so I ended up using two empty olive jars (boiled for sterility). I don't think we'll have trouble devouring it all within a few weeks, anyway.

4) Fig and Brie Sandwich

Top a halved English muffin with slices of Brie and toast until cheese is melted. Drizzle with honey or spread with ginger jam. Add fresh, ripe figs (sliced or halved, depending on size); smush together to form a sandwich.

5) Fig and Peach Cobbler

Motivated by a growing mound of fruit on the verge of over-ripeness,  I used a simple online recipe to whip this up last night. It calls for two peaches and we only had one, so I increased the figs to make up for it. I also added a handful of rolled oats to the topping to give it more texture. I meant to take a photo to show you how nicely it turned out, but, well...it's gone already. Definitely beats cereal for breakfast!
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About Amanda Bensen

Amanda Bensen is a former assistant editor at Smithsonian and is now a senior editor at the Nature Conservancy.

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