KAILUA-KONA, HAWAII – High in fiber, potassium and vitamin B6, figs also contain iron, calcium and Vitamin A. Shaped like a hot air balloon, the small fruit is steeped in the history and ritual of ancient cultures with archeological remnants dating back to 5000 BC.
Taste test figs and learn how to use them at a free demonstration 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30 at Island Naturals Market and Deli. Chef Rob Love of the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel will offer free fruit samples and use Maui Gold pineapple to prepare Pineapple-Wrapped Figs with Goat Cheese. Ken Love, president of the Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers (HTFG), will be on hand to answer horticulture questions.
The fruity fig fun is presented by the statewide HTFG, whose members are growing ultra-exotic tropical fruits. These not-so-well-known edibles—like figs, Surinam cherry, jackfruit, ulu, abiu, durian, white sapote, soursop and jaboticaba—are among a growing number of odd fruits that are intriguing island chefs and shoppers.
“Figs are drought tolerant and many varieties can be grown in Hawaii’s microclimates,” says Love. “They can be enjoyed fresh, poached or as a component in recipes. Figs lend themselves to a wide variety of value-added products.”
HTFG is working to build markets for these juicy rarities through a series of free public taste tests and culinary demonstrations at stores on four Hawaiian Islands throughout 2012. A dozen educational demonstrations are planned and participating stores will stock the fruit in their produce sections, accompanied by recipes and additional fruit information to take home.
“At Island Naturals, we strive to continually increase our local food offerings,” says Russell Ruderman, president and founder of Island Naturals and Puna District state senator. “We work with farmers and food producers to develop new offerings, and support new local products with our best prices, signage, shelf placement and demos. Local food keeps money in our local economy, supports agriculture in Hawaii, reduces the carbon footprint, and moves us toward a sustainable society. It also supports your friends and neighbors, and puts healthier food on your table.”
Titled “New Markets for Ultra-Exotic Fruits,” the event series is funded by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture through a USDA competitive grant program to foster small farm sustainability.
Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers
Incorporated in 1989 to promote tropical fruit grown in Hawaii, HTFG is a statewide association of tropical fruit growers, packers, distributors and hobbyists dedicated to tropical fruit research, education, marketing and promotion; http://www.htfg.org.
Pineapple-Wrapped Figs with Goat Cheese, By Rob Love, chef Mauna Kea Beach Hotel
- 1 Maui Gold pineapple
- 1lb. local goat cheese or cheve
- 1lb. figs local figs
- 1/4cup sherry vinegar
- 1/4cup sugar
- 1 bunch green onion
Cook figs, vinegar and sugar to a boil and let cool and mix to make compote.
Peel pineapple and slice in very, very thin circles. Cut onions the length of pineapple circle.
On a flat slice of pineapple, add a tablespoon of cheese and pinch of salt. Place 1 pc green onion and teaspoon of compote. Wrap and let set before slicing.
Garnish with additional compote and mint or basil leaves.
- Care for a Fig? 10 Delicious Things to Do with Fresh Figs – Ingredient Spotlight (thekitchn.com)
- Figs. FIGS EVERYWHERE (persephonemagazine.com)
- Where do Figs Come From (wanttoknowit.com)
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