Now bring us some figgy pudding!

T’is the season, and I’m sure at least some readers have sung ‘We Wish you a Merry Christmas’ in the past few days, which includes the line ‘Now bring us some figgy pudding.’ 

This seasonal dessert dates back to 16th century England, and was a mixture of custard, croutons and mashed figs. (There are lots of recipes on-line.)

One of the great things about living in Hays County is that we are able to grow fig trees quite easily, and so if you want to make a figgy pudding with your own home-grown figs, it is very possible! Our winters are mild and our rainfall adequate for them. (Extra watering is needed during periods of prolonged drought.)

The location that you choose to plant your fig tree is critical. For best fruit, choose a sunny spot.

Drainage is also important. With poor drainage, figs will suffer. You can grow them in clay as well as sandy soils.

Here are some fig varieties that do well in the Buda, Kyle and Austin area:

Celeste: a small fig that’s brown to purple in color. It is a productive and cold hardy tree. The fruit is considered high quality when eaten fresh, made into preserves, or canned. Celestes have a ‘closed eye’ that stops insects from entering the fruit. Harvest season is mid-June. Pruning can limit production because Celeste produces fruit on last season’s wood.

Alma: a late season producer of high quality, sweet figs. They’re an attractive golden brown color with amber pulp. Alma has a closed eye. Harvest late June to early July.

Texas everbearing: a medium to large size tree,  with medium sized fruit. It ripens in late June and continues into August, hence the name ‘everbearing.’ It has a mostly closed eye.

Brown turkey: medium to large figs with a brown to reddish-purple skin with an open eye. Good quality fruit. Like Texas everbearing, ripening occurs from late June to August.

Whatever you decide on, having a fig tree in the backyard is always a wise choice. They add sweetness to a healthy diet, and they are fat free, sodium free, cholesterol free, and high in fiber. They also add iron, calcium, and potassium. Happy gardening … and happy holidays everyone!

If you have a question for Chris, send it via email to iathyme@yahoo.com.  Or mail a postcard to It’s About Thyme11726 Manchaca Road, Austin, TX 78748 

www.itsaboutthyme.com

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