I tell you all of this because, well, first of all, I love remembering my grandparents and the times I had with them and also to let you know part of why having a garden and fruit trees has always been something I've desired. Now, I may have inherited my gramma's cooking gene, but possession of the gardening gene is yet to be proven. As our family has dwindled down to two kids at home now, as opposed to the six we started with, I'm hoping time will allow me to work on developing my gardening skills.
This brings me to my Italian brother-in-law, Tony, also a New Yorker like me. He, like my grandmother, has a very green thumb. When we go home to visit I'm always looking longingly at his wonderful garden and all the fruit trees he's managed to fit into his backyard. A couple, in particular, have carried me back to my childhood whenever I've eaten their fruit.... the mulberry tree and the fig tree (actually, he has 2 or 3 of these). I always liked the mulberries, but, as a little girl, I'm not sure I really enjoyed the fresh figs. Now, I love them!
Ok...... now I'll get to the reason for this post. Our last visit to see my family was near the end of July. The night before we left to come home, my dear brother-in-law told me he was giving me a little fig tree he had that was still in a pot. I was sooo thrilled and happy!! Now, you may be wondering why a little potted fig tree could get me so excited. Well, to me it represented a part of my childhood, my times with my grandparents, a little bit of my Italian heritage, and maybe the start of my own great Italian garden, complete with fruit trees. That's if the little thing could survive the 7 hour trip home, the new environment, and my very limited gardening experience.
I'm happy to say that my little fig tree has done well so far. I brought it home with 6 little green figs on it. I placed it in a sunny spot, watered it as per Tony's instructions, and don't you know the figs all grew and turned purple and ripe! I did it! (Well, there were some texts along the way double checking that I was proceeding properly) I just ate the last fig a few days ago....how sweet and delicious!
Now I realize fresh figs aren't always available, but when they aren't in season you can usually find dried, which I, for one, also love. So I'm giving you two recipes.....one using fresh figs and one using dried. They would both make nice appetizers. But first, I can't resist showing you some pics of my little gift.