Here Figgy, Figgy!

(originally posted on on 7/5/11)

We have an embarrassment of figs here at my house.

I don’t think I ever even ate a fig until I moved to LA.  Figs were something that made brief appearances in songs around Christmastime, not something I’m accustomed to having on my plate in the summer.

But now we have an enormous fig tree in our yard, with my hammock from El Salvador hanging underneath – I’m so excited to finally be using it!


About two weeks ago we started getting our first ripe ones.  From what I can tell, it seems we’ll have fresh figs from now until mid-fall.  At least 100 pounds of them.  Question is – what the hell do you do with all those figs?  I certainly don’t want them to go to waste.

When Adam and I went to Ecuador last November, we stopped for some street food at an outdoor market in Otavalo.  A black, bubbling concoction served with cheese on a roll.

dulce de higos

Turns out they were figs, and they were beyond delicious.  As soon as we got home I tried to find the recipe, which I finally did online at and is reprinted below.  At the time it was hard to find figs, but now that I’m pulling about 20 a day from our tree, I’ve made it twice in the last two weeks.  It takes three days to prepare, but it is worth it!

figs from our tree


  • 20 fresh ripe but firm figs, washed
  • Pinch of baking soda
  • 1 ¾ lb brown sugar
  • Cinnamon sticks, cloves and other spices – optional
  • Water

Sides – Slices of cheese, bread (we found Hawaiian bread particularly tasty with this)


  1. Make a crosswise cut on the thin side of each fig.
  2. Place the figs in a bowl, cover them with water and let them soak for 24 hours.
  3. Rinse the figs, place them in a saucepan, and cover them with water, about 8 cups.
  4. Add the baking soda and bring the water to a boil over medium heat, cook for about 15-20 minutes or until soft.
  5. Remove from the heat and let the figs soak in the water they cooked in for another 24 hours.
  6. Drain all the water from figs and gently squeeze each fig to remove as much water as possible.
  7. Place the brown sugar and the spices in a large saucepan, cover with about 6 cups of water and cook on low heat until it is completely dissolved.
  8. Add the figs and simmer until the syrup begins to thicken, at least a couple of hours, stir occasionally.
  9. Serve either warm or cold with a slice of quesillo, fresh mozzarella, queso fresco, farmer’s cheese or the cheese of your preference.