Fig VarietiesThe fig actually bears its flowers inside the fruit and relies upon wasps to crawl inside to pollinate them. This unique fertilization process is called parthenocarpy.
There are hundreds of varieties of figs, ranging in color from nearly black to almost white, and only the female fruits are edible. The green varieties are normally reserved for drying.
California is the largest fig producer in the United States, with most of the harvest ending up dried. It takes over six pounds of fresh figs to produce two pounds of dried figs.
Here are the more popular varieties:
Adriatic: light green or yellowish-green in color with pale pink or dark red flesh. Not as sweet as other varieties. Noted for its pronounced flavor, especially when dried, and also eaten fresh.
Brown Turkey: medium to large, maroon-brown skin with sweet, juicy pulp. All purpose usage.
Calimyrna (Smyrna grown in California): large, green skin with white flesh. Less moist and not as sweet as the Mission. Most popular in its dried form. Having thick skin, they are usually peeled when eaten fresh.
Celeste: small to medium, violet skin with extremely sweet, juicy white pulp. Good fresh or dried. A favorite for container gardening.
Kadota: medium size, yellowish-green in color, thick-skinned with sweet white to amber-pink pulp. It has only a few small seeds. All purpose usage.
Mission: purplish-black in color with red flesh, full-flavored, moist and chewy texture. Best for eating fresh, but also good dried. They are named for the California Franciscan missions where they have been cultivated since 1770.
More about Figs:
Fig Equivalents and Cooking Tips
Fig Varieties and Terms
Fig Selection and Storage
Fig Legend and Lore
Black Mission Fig Photo © 2006 Peggy Trowbridge, licensed to About.com, Inc.
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