31 Aug, 2014 Picking Fresh Figs with The Twister Fruit Picker®
We recently had the opportunity to visit our friend Jim’s backyard orchard to pick figs with The Twister Fruit Picker®. Jim, a retired high school science teacher, shared A FIG STORY (the simplified version) with us: “Like many flowers, fig flower groups are formed at a stem node with a small bract. The floral receptacle develops small flowers as stem material grows out to form a bag. More flowers are added inside as the bag (synconium) grows outward…this will ripen into a fig. The part that is eaten is a sac lined inside with developing flowers. The fruit will form without being fertilized. Pollinators are specific but are lacking in the Northwest.”
Jim has a “Brown Turkey” fig tree that’s over 20 years old and is 20-25 feet tall. Jim lives in the Pacific Northwest but these trees also grow well in southern California. It’s a beautiful tree with many of the ripest figs located at the top of the tree. Figs are usually best when picked ripe – they do not ripen off the tree. When they are ripe, they hang down or droop from the branch. A fresh ripe fig is sweet and delicious. As Jim put it, when you taste a ripe fig you will notice that it has “notes of floral.” Picking figs with The Twister Fruit Picker® allows you to harvest those ripe figs on the upper half of the tree that can’t be reached, even with a ladder.
We have a few tips for picking ripe figs:
Start with the picking rings slightly open – the tension adjustment pressure should be very light.
We noticed that the small fruit adapters were a little too firm for the ripe figs, so we added a thin layer of self-adhesive moleskin to the inside of the adapters. This seemed to treat the figs a little more gently and it was easier to pick without “squeezing them.”
Taking off the small fruit adapters and securing nylons to the picking rings was also an effective adaptation. Because figs are “juicy,” both of these adaptations wash up easily.
Enclose the fig with the picking rings. Once you have it secured in the rings, pull down gently on the rope until you feel the picking rings putting light pressure on the top of the fig or stem. Turn the picker slightly left or right, and pull the fig off according to which way the stem is growing, keeping slight pressure on the rope as you do this.
When you find the figs growing in clusters, you’ll need to slowly maneuver the picking rings between the fruit before isolating one and twisting it off.
Fresh figs are absolutely mouth watering and also have many health benefits. They can be put in fresh salads, used as appetizers, sautéed, sauced, poached, stuffed, baked and made into jam. Allrecipes.com has a large variety of fig recipes. We tried the fig cookies and they are very tasty.
To make an easy chunkier fig sauce, start by cutting 8 ripe figs into chunks. Add ½ tsp. of cinnamon and enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. If needed, add some sugar or honey. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer for about ½ hour, stirring frequently. The water will be reduced and the fig mixture will thicken. It tastes yummy as is, or mix with plain yogurt.
We would like to thank Jim for giving us the opportunity to pick some figs using The Twister Fruit Picker®. We had fun and the figs were delicious. If you have figs, we think you will enjoy picking figs with The Twister Fruit Picker®. Happy Picking!