Here’s what your September figs ought to look like. This is a Celeste fig. I’ve had the tree for 10 years and it’s just now producing yummy figs. But, if your fig tree is full of little green knobby figs that will surely succumb to frost before ripening, I have a surprise for you. You can hasten the ripening of your little darlings with a nifty trick I learned a few years ago from my friend, Andrew, at a Men’s Garden Club of Asheville plant sale. Well, I’ll just show you.
Here’s my Brown Turkey Fig tree that literally froze to the ground last winter, so the onset of this year’s figs has been mighty slow. There are a gazillion figs on it that look like this:
The process is called oleification, discovered several centuries BC, probably by a Mediterranean fig farmer who was merrily quaffing his Tuscan red wine and sloppily dipping his bread into olive oil while sitting in his fig tree. Five days later, he had ripe figs to eat with his cheese panino. Anyway, the olive oil does something to the scientific guts of the fig, hastening ripening by about 3 weeks! The figs aren’t as good when rushed, of course, but much better than a poke in the face. And, you can control the flow of your ripe figs so they don’t swamp you all at once.
This happy fig has a slice of Roberta’s fantastic cow’s milk “Terroir” cheese in his mouth.