Why would you ever cook white figs?

August 11th, 2011 | Posted by greg in Daily life... | Recipes

Hong Kong’s very own organic figs from Zen Farm are back!

Whilst their skin is indeed green, like, well yes, green figs, there is certain crop which is called white. There are more than 700 kinds of figs around the planet and the main ones are green, purple or black. White figs happen to be very rare on the market because of their fragile skin, thus not pleasing our dear globalized supermarket where fruits not staying bright and juicy for a month will not make it to the shelves. White figs wouldn’t be in very good shape if they would be on a 12 hour flight.

With those delicate features, needless to say that everything is edible, including the too-often peeled skin.

Beside of being little nutritious bombs, they contain an unbelievable amount of natural sugar, a delicate fragrance and a perfect fondant texture. Honestly, it is hard to find them negative points. Last year, I cooked them as a delicious chutney, but this year, I thought why would you ever cook white figs? It’ll spoil their texture, their nutritious aspect, their flavor and no one will ba able to see how beautiful they are being mashed beyond recognition.

Figs are a classic baked or poached dessert, for example in blueberry infusion like in my book ‘Never Skip Dessert‘, but I would rather use purple or black figs like those from Sollies when it comes to baking or cooking.

I could only picture white figs being served raw, so I didn’t prepare any dessert; instead I created an appetizer, a salad.


A quick call upstairs to see what cheese we had in our cheese cellar and when the word Charolais came out, that was it. To compliment the organic white figs, I chose fresh cherries, arugula, lemon zest, Charolais cheese, black pepper and virgin olive oil.

Simple and giving full justice to the figs, there was nothing else to add… I didn’t want to have bread, crackers, toast, nuts, and the whole bla bla bla… I just wanted to keep the flavors clean.

…and guess what I did next? I ate it. :)

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6 Responses

  • Very pretty as always.  The point of cooking & preserving things even beautiful figs like these for me are two reasons, one if you have so many you can not eat them all before they spoi,l the other is to enjoy something delicious through the harsh boring winters.

    I’ve been buying white peaches to preserve for the winter to make bellini because at the moment they’re cheap but so far after trying three times I just end up eating them with my daughter.

    • Good point Azelia, I should have titled the post “Why would you ever cook white figs while in season?” What you say makes total sense – as a matter of fact we preserve fruits as well for the winter, back home in Switzerland. I guess in HK we are getting used to get any fruits at any time of the year! :)

  • haha i preserve/freeze stuff all the time in case i need to use them when they go out of season, i.e. rhubarb, redcurrants, passionfruit etc

    We saw black Mission figs in Singapore recently but the season was so short and they don’t last long at all, moulding very quickly. do you face such problems, chef?

    the presentation looks stunning as usual… pitted cherry halves (Bing?) with arugula and lemon rind? What cheese would you recommend for that and what dressing?

    • You’re right Alan, I should have mentioned “beside keeping them when they’re out of season!” :) Some figs are very sensitive to temperature change and they indeed can get moulded quickly, but in general we are ok. I found the Sollies figs to be the quickest to get mould in HK.

      For that salad, I just used virgin olive oil, salt and black pepper, no fuss! And the cherries are black cherries which were in full season back then!
      The cheese is a goat cheese, but I guess it could be any other as fig is a good friend of cheese in general… blue cheese, semi-hard cheese, sheep cheese like manchego…

      So yummy!!

  • Tom G. says:

    I have 5 varieties of figs on our farm and was very please to find our first crop of white figs ready upon my return from Hong Kong. You are right, don’t cook them in season, absolutely incredible!

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