Comparing Fresh Fig Varieties

different types of fresh fig varieties

Left to right: Black Mission, Kadota and Brown Turkey  fig varieties

Our local Whole Foods had three different kinds of fresh figs all at the same time the other day, so we snatched them up and hurried back to the kitchen with Black Mission, Brown Turkey and Kadota fig varieties, our minds racing with all of the things we could do with them. First, let’s talk about their flavor profiles and what each type brings to the table.

All types of figs are eaten with the skin, flesh, seeds and all – though the tiny stem can be snipped away. They should be plump and heavy for their size and blemish-free. They do not store well, so buy them ready to eat and plan on using right away – and make sure to get them when you see them in the store, because they might not be there tomorrow. We prepared them simply. See Fresh Figs, Ricotta and Honey.

  • Black Mission figs – Our favorite type of figs. They’re very sweet with notes of honey, and are rich and almost jammy in their intensity. We are also partial to their purple-black skin and their gorgeous pink flesh.
  • Brown Turkey figs – Another dark-colored fig, although these feature a dark brown skin, often with a hint of dark pink near the stem. The flesh is rose-colored just like Black Mission, but their flavor is less intense. If you are preparing something that contains a lot of sweetener, it might be better to go with these rather than Black Mission, which are so sweet unto themselves.
  • Kadota figs – These chartreuse-green figs have a lighter-pink interior; sometimes a thicker, less delicate skin; and a mild flavor. Kadota is not our favorite, but an array of various colors of figs on a cheese plate for dessert would look beautiful.
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