For the purpose of this blog entry I chose to visit the St Lawrence Market at 92 Front St in Downtown Toronto. I decided to go to this particular market because it’s the closest market to me.
The fruit I chose for this assignment is Figs (Ficus Carica). I’ve passed them in supermarkets and seen them in desserts but I’ve never actually tried one.
Once I decided on this fruit I asked the vendor how to pick the ripest. She said the ones that were all purple, without any green were the ripest. They should be soft to the touch without any wrinkles (I actually saw two vendors with figs and I chose this one because the figs looked and felt overripe at the other) . They were $1.25 each so I decided to get 4.
I explained that I had to do a project where I had to try a new fruit. She then gave me some information regarding figs. They are expensive now because it’s the end of their season. Their season is very short; the early and late part of summer towards early autumn. They also don’t ripe once they’ve been picked so its crucial to harvest them once they begin to peak.
Figs are mainly found in most Mediterranean & Middle Eastern countries as well as Turkey and Northern India. She also mentioned that some are grown in California. They grow from a bush or small tree, anywhere from 1 m to 12 m high.
I usually see the purple mission figs and had no idea there are hundreds of varieties. I found a list of the different varieties online at Adriano’s World of Figs. Despite this, figs fall into 4 main categories: Capri figs, Smyrna, San Pedro and the Common Figs (more information can be found at Gardening Know How).
According to Britannica this is because figs are often grown in neighbouring countries under different names. The fig is one of the earliest fruit tree cultivated where it spread around the Aegean Sea and Levant.
Once I arrived home I was very eager to try one.
My sensory analysis is as following:
The Look: The ones I bought were purple bulb shaped. The inside was bright red with what looked like feelers.
The Smell: I wasn’t able to pick up a scent at first but after having them in the house for a day I noticed they smelt fruity. The smell resembled a ripe plum.
The Touch: Soft, smooth skin with bit of resistance when I squeezed it.
The Taste: A bit sweet. It had the texture of a blueberry but tasted more like a sweet plum.
Overall I enjoyed the fig and I see myself purchasing them again once they’re in season.
I found a homemade fig newton bar recipe at the Healthy Green Kitchen that I would love to try. At the beginning of summer I remember stumbling across a post on Buzzfeed where they listed 27 recipes for figs. They have them in appetizers, side dishes, main dishes and, even pizzas!
While I was writing this blog post I made myself a snack. I had the figs with plain Greek yoghurt with granola on top. I usually have yoghurt with fresh berries but this is a great alternative. I found that the tanginess of the yoghurt elevated the taste of the figs.
From this experience I learnt that I shouldn’t be afraid of farmers markets. The experience of purchasing fruits from the grocery store is different from what I experienced at the market. As cliché as it sounds I felt more personal with what I bought after speaking with the vendor at the farmers market. I felt like I was going to a fruit consultation because I was able to get information regarding what I bought. I’m going to make it a habit to shop locally for fruits (and vegetables) if time and my budget permits. I also enjoyed the entire experience of hunting for something new for my palate.