Last Call For Figs


Fresh Figs from the Lagos Saturday Fruit and Veg Market
You can put all you figs in a basket, but they don’t stay there long.

Fresh figs are everywhere, sweet reminders that much too soon our flip flops and tank tops will sink lower and lower in the drawers and wardrobes until next year.

Before moving to Lagos in January of this year, we had two seasons of fig picking from trees we found on our hikes around the village where we lived, Salir do Porto. New to Lagos, we haven’t found secret trees in time for fig picking but on Saturday mornings a half of kilo can be harvested from our favorite vendor for under a Euro at Saturday’s Lagos fresh fruit and veggie market* next to the bus station.

My favorite time to eat a fig is at the market, laughing with the vendor as I bite into it, the sticky juice sliding down my wrist.  Once back in the kitchen any crushed figs are slurped down over the sink. The others are carefully arranged on parchment paper like little soldiers on parade as plans are made for their delicious demise.

Ripe Figs from Lagos Portugal
Our regiment of figs on their way to culinary battle. 

Some will be grabbed and gobbled just as they are, fresh and juicy.  We love to stuff them with cheese made from happy little goats and sheep that live in the mountainous Serra da Estrela region northeast of Coimbra.  If we are feeling a little pinched in our budget, we use creme cheese or Brie on sale. Popped under the broiler for barely a minute until the cheese gets a little bubbly, then drizzled with azeite (olive oil) and balsamic vinegar.  Savoring our last days of summer we drink icy glasses of vinho verde and eat the cheesy figs while enjoying the light fade as the sun sets.

I have found a random fig tree here and there in my wanderings around Lagos and pick a few ripe figs from the branches I can reach.  My fondest fig memory this summer has to be the shared bag of figs at Praia Porto de Mós.  After the Saturday market, the Citizen (my partner in life and adventure) and I easily caught the blue line bus for a much needed beach day. The insulated bag pre-loaded with frozen bottles of water, winesicles** and from our morning’s shopping a nice bag of figs plus almonds, olives and peaches. A decadent picnic, the cool aqua sea, the now chilled rosy sweet figs, clear blue sunny skies and then each saying at the same time “relax, let’s take the last bus home”.

On the branches I can reach, the figs are all picked.  But the flip-flops are still on my feet and the figs are at the market. I am going to enjoy every single bite.

*Want to know more about the Lagos Saturday Fresh Market? My Lagos Saturday Market Guide  will have you shopping live a local.

**What is a winesicle?  Henry the Navigator would have liked my discovery.  Read about it at Our New Lagos Beach Treat

2 Responses to Last Call For Figs

  1. I miss Portugal! I miss the delicious fruits and vegetables. I remember those little stuffed figs appetizer you mentioned. So good. The Citizen is a terrific cook! I see you’re pretty exclusively vinho verde these days. Yet my preference will still be the vinho blanca!
    Miss you, Con,

  2. Mmm, yummy. You really know how to appreciate figs. I must line up ours also for culinary battle. A local farmer taught us how to make a fig picking tool to reach the figs higher up on the tree. You use a cane from the giant reeds that grow alongside all the rivers and cut the top of it so it forms a kind of basket. For those who want to have a go at harvesting some of their own in Lagos the trick is to come to the park at the beginning of the season. The trees are heavy with figs, but lots of retired Portuguese men come early in the morning with their long sticks and pick both the figs and the almonds within a short period.

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