Figs, Birds and Mosquitoes

Figs, Birds and Mosquitoes


Jean Butterworth

The old-fashioned fruit bearing fig tree is so old it is mentioned in the Bible…. Remember the fig tree that bore no fruit, or that Eve covered herself with fig leaves to hid her nakedness?

There are several types of figs grown in the U.S. namely: Sierra Figs green in color, the Brown Turkey fig, and the Black Mission Fig.

The enemy of the fig tree is drought, and birds. Fig trees thrive on slow summer rains.  Birds love ripe figs! You almost have to pick early in the morning to beat the birds to the real ripe figs. Mosquitoes are human’s worst enemy while trying to pick figs.  In the warm humid South the mosquitoes will eat you up when you appear at the fig trees.  So first, before you go out to the fig trees you must wear long sleeves, long pants and cover yourself with “Off” bug spray.

All of the figs don’t ripen at the same time so you have to pick them usually every other day. Figs will ripen at room temperature if they are picked before ripening.

A favorite way, besides just eating the figs, for my mother was to can the figs.  I recall my mother canning pint jars of fig preserves.   Later, she would use the fig preserves to make fig cakes.  Today, some of my friends use strawberry jello in canning the figs.

After I married, I used my mother’s handwritten fig cake recipe to make fig cakes.  I entered one of my fig cakes in the Jefferson County Fair at the fairgrounds one autumn and won a first prize!

Now, I just eat my neighbor’s figs for enjoyment!

Chinaberries and Other Memories of Alabama by Jean Butterworth

Check out genealogy and novels by Donna R. Causey