An Overview on Figs
Southern Brown Turkey figs are a popular variety in Mississippi. (Photo by Canva)
With figs in season, they’re on my mind a lot these days. The sweet, Southern decadence is quite the treat! I associate figs with my grandparents since they had a tree in their backyard. I remember helping them pick buckets full of figs when I was younger and eating them soon after they were picked.
Figs are typically in season from July through October. It’s tempting to pick figs as soon as they appear, but it’s important to wait until the fruit is ripe. Watch for the skin to fully color and for the fruit to soften, but don’t let it get mushy. When you notice the fruit necks wilt and hang down, that’s a good indication they are ready to be picked.
There are two main fig varieties found in Mississippi: Celeste and Southern Brown Turkey. Celeste is the most common variety found in the state. It is generally small, pear-shaped, light brown to violet-bronze with a pink pulp and has a sweet taste. Southern Brown Turkey figs are medium-sized with light brown skin and a mild, sweet flavor.
If you aren’t fortunate enough to have a fig tree in your yard, they’re easy to plant! Figs grow well in a range of soil types if the soil is well-drained and reasonably fertile. It’s also important to make sure plenty of moisture is available to the tree. Plant trees in full sunlight to ensure maximum growth. If you live in North Mississippi, plant the tree on the south side of buildings. The best time to plant fig trees is late winter to early spring while they are dormant.
Fresh figs last only a short amount of time, typically two to three days after being picked. If you don’t think you can eat them all in that short amount of time, consider making fresh fig jam with them. You can also freeze them. Extension Publication 0663, “Freezing Fruits,” offers easy instructions to follow!
For more information on growing figs in your backyard, check out Information Sheet 1457, “Fruit and Nut Review – Figs.”
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