Wonderful world of figs

My figs are just coming in. I got 0 last year so its thrilling to get these and I forgot how incredible figs are- fresh or used in other dishes. While I’m at at, I have to say that out of the 6 varieties of figs I have, my favorite by a long shot is plain old Chicago Hardy. No, its not an exotic and is downright common. But for the life of me I just cannot understand why so many people put CH down!

Anyway, even though I know this is the simplest recipe of all time and surely everyone has made it, I can’t help but recommend the following, even if only one person in the world hasn’t made it and tries it after reading this, I’ll know I brought joy to one life!

3 ingredients: Figs, real butter, and honey.

Clean and cut stem end off fig.Then cut them in half from top (where stem was) to bottom.

Melt enough butter to cover bottom of pan. If you want to through good health completely out the window in exchange for decadence, use enough butter to cover about 1/3 of the fig half!

Lay figs, cut side facing up, all around the pan in the butter so they are all touching and crowded (they will shrink a little during cooking)

Take a spoon and drizzle honey lightly all over the tops (the cut side) of the figs. Use 1-2 tablespoons at this point.

Set heat to med-low so the whole thing just slowly bubbles. At first, a lot of water will come out of the figs and make the whole pan quite “watery” looking. Let simmer about 8-10 minutes like this.

Turn figs over so cut side is down. Its ok that some of the gooey center stuff in the figs will come up. That is what thickens the whole dish and gives fig flavor to the butter/fig dripping sauce being created. Cook 5-7 minutes.

Flip figs back over. Drizzel very lightly with honey again- this time just barely drizzel- 1 tablespoon over the whole pan.

Let it bubble 2-3 more minutes and the entire contents of pan should be thicker than ever .

Take off heat and let cook a little, which will thicken it even more.

What you have in that pan now is as close to heaven as you’ll get in this life that’s above the sheets. You can just eat it straight or pour it over ice cream, whip cream, cake, or anything you like to put fruit topping on.

Obiously I’m no chef, but this is so good I had to try and tell how to make it- simple as it is!


Okay, I have to admit that I have never made this with figs…but your enthusiasm sold me. It is on my list of things to do this week!

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Your recipe sounds awesome. I enjoy eating them plain but if I ever decide to go decadent I’ll give it a shot.

You comments on CH confuse me a bit. Maybe we run in different circles but I’ve spent many hours and killed a lot of time reading about figs and reading fig forums and I’m not sure I ever read anything bad or met anyone that disliked CH. You are right that it has a boring name and doesn’t have a fancy French name like Ronde De Bordeaux. But it seems universally praised for not only it’s cold hardiness, but for having a very nice flavor as well. It’s the only fig I’m growing that’s produced so I don’t have much to judge it against. But the ones I’ve eaten havr been excellent.

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My Wife has been making several nice fig inspired dishes. This one sounds perfect for me I could try it myself even with my lack of culinary talent and sounds great.

I have to agree with speedster1 about not hearing bad things about Hardy Chicago, It usually gets very good reviews in being a relaible performer over different areas and climates. Brown Turkey is the one that is the subject of many insults. There are a few figs going the BT name. If I grow the California BT in my southeast humid climate it normally is large tasteless with a void inside often spoiling even before ripe. That same fig grown in a drier climate and even occationally for me is a delightful treat.

If there was one advise I would give to folks that are not totally immeresed in the cult world of figs is totally disregard all the hype of the fig of the moment, the ones selling for hundreds of dollars for a just started plant or cuttings. Buy a proven performer that does well over a large range of cultural conditions, or at least in a climate similar to your growing conditions. Buy a Celeste, Violette De Bordeaux, Ischia Green/Verte, a Peters Honey or similar, a Hardy Chicago and maybe even the right Brown Turkey. Many you could find at your big box store, assuming they were labeled correct so I would opt from a individual or a more fruit based nursery. Resist all urges to spend more that a few dollars for a cutting or 20-30 for a well started plant. If that high priced fig is that good of a overall performer in taste, vigor, productivity, and if it matters for you hardiness in very few years it will get propagated enough that supply and demand reached the sanity level. the mentioned Ronde De Bordeaux is a classic example. It’s been around for a extended time, but not so long in U.S. As recent as 3 or 4 years ago 3 cuttings were might have cost you over $100. a starter plant maybe $200. Today it falls in the $ limits I mentioned. Is the opinion of it lowered? no if anything elevated and proven on all points mentioned and propagated extensive resulting in the price drop. There are some exceptions of figs that maintain a high cost over a extended period, but they are usually lacking in the vigor category either by being difficult to root from cuttings, or normally take a while to establish and grow well struggling with FMV or other issues. An example of this would be Black Madeira, A fig well worth growing, but at least the UC DAvis one have a bit of Diva in them.

I have no issue with folks spending whatever they want on any fig. I just wish folks knew what they were missing when I see someone listing what they grow, and it’s all more of the moment figs, or maybe even someone complaining about the insane prices without growing any of the classic time proven winners. Now I just have to keep repeating this to myself trying to keep saying maybe next year when evaulting certian hot figs.


Thanks for the advice. I am relatively new to figs. All but one, CH, are in pots. I should be choosey about what figs to acquire as I have limited space to store those pots. . But everytime someone posts positive reviews of their figs, I say to my self, I should have that.

Your advice is very helpful.

Glad I seem to have conveyed how wonderful figs are prepared using this very simple method.

I’m glad some of you just questioned me about my statement that a lot of people don’t seem that crazy about Chicago hardy. I really don’t know how I got that idea in my head but I think it is wrong. I say that not only because 2 people on this thread said they hadn’t heard that, but I was so sure I had that I did a little searching on this thread and GW both and didn’t find any despairaging remarks on CH. I will say that- and again this may only be in my mind- while I now agree that the general opinion is better than I thought, it does seem like there is a lot more talk or “hype” about the less common ones. I think @strudeldog is onto something when he warns us not to get too caught up in the “fig of the moment”. Seems like people like to talk about more obscure or expensive varieties, whereas CH is just your common fig. To me though, its become common because its one of the best!

Anyway, sorry for my characterization of Chicago Hardy’s reputation. I may have just read one bad review that stuck in my mind since I disagreed so strongly, and there is always going to be someone who gives a bad review to anything.

Now…go cut some figs, put them in a pan with butter, drizzel with honey, cook till soft, and come back and thank me. :slight_smile:


I picked some Florea figs today. Seems like this one is the earliest to fruit here. Of course it is not the best fig, a sugar flavor profile. Even so, I was impressed with the taste. It’s as good as anything you can buy! If this is the worst, I’m now REALLY excited about my other figs.
Part of it here, this year, is that it has been super dry. Everything is loaded with sugar this year.
This winter I will have cuttings available for trade, or free. I will list out what i have when the time comes.


Yes Florea is always my 1st main crop to produce a number of figs and will always have a place in my orchard for that reason. Not a complex flavor, but when you have not had a fresh fig for months is one of the most enjoyed of the season.


Cityman, your recope is delish! Gonna put it on top of some bluebell vanilla.

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It really, really does my heart so much good knowing that one or more other human beings on this earth are going to get to partake in this heavenly gift from above! :slight_smile: Those who think we are exaggerating how incredible it is only think that because they haven’t made it. I mean, when you read that all it contains is figs, butter, and honey, most people figure they know about what it will taste like. But this a case that definitely proves “less is more”, and the Top Chef Montra “simple is better” is also proven. So I’m glad you tried it, and hope others will. This one simple dish caused me to plant 10 more fig trees last year! :slight_smile:


Damn Kevin. I just tried making your compote and it’s delicious!. I let it thicken and smeared some on an English muffin. The rest will be ice cream topping. I didn’t have many figs so I just made a small saucepan pot worth. Would love to have a huge amount of figs to jar this up.


First, I’m just passing it on from some gourmet article I read somewhere, so I can’t take credit. But its nice hearing that it isn’t just me- that others find this simple, 3 ingredient desert just as amazing as I do! I love the english muffin idea! There is always room for a few more fig trees isn’t there? :slight_smile:

lol call me old fashioned but I like them fresh same with all my fruits. I’m not to big on pies, jams, and dishes with fruit or figs that are cooked. To me it messes up the flavor profile but I have so many fig trees I’m going to have to do something with them to stop them from going bad. I’m borderline having a mono culture of fig trees.

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Amen brother…!! Good fruit isn’t better in a fruit salad or cooked.

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Well I came into gardening more or less from cooking. I wanted fresher product. I still prefer currants, magnolia berries, cranberries, elderberries, tart cherries, etc processed (cooked) and not raw. I also like to concentrate flavors, and see no downside. I agree flavor profile changes, usually it’s better. If not, yeah i would say cooking is not for you. In cooking you often invent new flavors such as strawberry-banana. Which creates a very unique flavor. I use very little sugar, and people knock each other down to get to my peach-raspberry jam, or blueberry-blackberry, or kiwi-blackberry. I myself cannot eat the store bought stuff, it’s terrible! This year I combined yellow raspberry, white currant, and wyeberries, wow, the stuff is amazing.

I myself much prefer dried figs to fresh. I find fresh figs rather bland. I saw this recipe for dried figs with toasted walnuts,made into a roll. I want to try this one.

California Fig & Toasted Nut Roll
Makes 30 slices

14 ounces of dried figs (2 cups)
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon or orange zest
2/3 cup toasted, blanched whole almonds, toasted walnut pieces, roasted marcona almonds (without skins) or roasted mixed nuts without peanuts


Remove and discard fig stems. Cut figs into quarters. Place in bowl of food processor with lemon or orange zest and process until figs are finely chopped and form a paste, stopping to scrape bowl once or twice as needed.
Turn fig mixture out of bowl onto a piece of parchment paper. If nuts are large, cut into halves or quarters. Knead nuts into fig mixture, distributing evenly and covering nuts completely with fig mixture. Form mixture into a compact 8-inch long log. Wrap parchment paper around log, folding in ends to seal. Place in a plastic bag and seal bag. Chill for 12 to 24 hours.
To serve, unwrap and cut with sharp knife into thin (about ¼-inch) slices. Serve with cheese. Makes 28 to 30 servings.


Lemon-Pepper: Use lemon zest as directed above. After forming log, roll in 2 teaspoons coarsely ground or cracked black pepper, covering log evenly. Wrap in parchment and store as directed.

Rosemary: Replace lemon or orange zest with 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary.

This recipe comes from this site with about 150 more fig recipes.

Chocolate fig muffins, worse than fresh fruit? I think not! For the fig spread, use fig
jam, or the recipe posted by thecityman in this thread. See link for recipe.

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Fresh is best, and I can eat a lot of figs, but I have exceeded even my glutenous appetite. I have been dehydrating for the 1st time and am very pleased with the results

Florea freezes well, especially the well ripened ones with higher sugar content.

T likes our few tx everbearing figs


What a cutie pie! And obviously loves his fruit!!

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