Translate

martes, 27 de junio de 2017

“BREVAS” AND FIGS, A MEDITERRANEAN DELICACY.


You may not know it, but some fig trees produce two different types of figs, in two different crops each year. The first are called "brevas" in Spanish (also are known as Early Figs), and are usually harvested in June, while figs crop is harvested in August and September. 
  


Brevas are largest, more aromatic and less sweet than normal figs, and are considered a world apart when they are at the adequate ripening point, one of the most delicious fruits, sinfully luscious. They are prized for their size, which can approach to a medium sized pear. Brevas have fleshy pulp, exquisitely sweet flavour, and are full of seeds, but are so tiny that they just add an unique texture.



These fruits are quite delicate and they have to be refrigerated. Because they don't continue ripening after harvest, choosing them is an important question. Try to choose them soft and ripe, and is better when the peel has some opened marks.

Spain is one of the largest fig-producing countries in the world, and the south of the Alicante province is one of the most traditional production zones, mainly in Elche and Albatera, thanks to the outstanding quality of their brevas and figs, of Colar variety, with black and thin skin.





The easiest way to eat a breva is breaking it in two and biting into the fruit. Or peeled and sliced. Actually, these early figs also deserve their own place in the most sophisticated cuisine.

If you need further convincing to try this exquisite fresh fruit, keep in mind that it is an excellent source of potassium and fiber, and 100 grams have only 68 calories.










jueves, 12 de enero de 2017

ELCHE FRESH DATES.

Since ancient times Elche has the biggest palm grove in Europe, with about 200.000 date palm trees (Phoenix dactylifera), the only one with edible dates among a large number of palm species.

Elche Palm Grove
It may be thought that here there is a huge date trade, but it isn´t, as result of high costs (e.g. dates should be handpicked climbing at the treetop / in each bunch, date ripening not occur at the same time / fruit characteristics is very heterogeneous).

climbing to handpick dates

The more usual presentation in greengroces are dried dates and candied dates, because they don´t need special storage conditions and their commercial life is very long. Nevertheless, to taste the difference between dried or candied with the fresh dates, is so big as with a grape and a raisin. 

dates crop

  Fresh dates aren´t easy to buy away from producers areas, because they have a short commercial life (around 5-7 days). With less calories than dried and candied dates, are really a delight, sweet, pulpy, and its colour varies from amber to dark brown. Their characteristics range depending of the ripening state, as in other fruits. The crop is in autumm and winter, and it´s worth to taste Elche fresh dates if you are here in these seasons. It´s usual to find also defrosted dates, but they aren´t so tasty as fresh ones.

"Medjoul  variety" fresh dates, by Datelx courtesy
"Medjoul variety " fresh dates, by Datelx courtesy.

   Studies promoted some years ago by Elche City Council and an Institute for Agricultural Research, finished delivering selected palm trees to Elche farmers, and with a patented post-harvest handling that allows to improve fresh date commercialization. A farmer´s cooperative of this selected palm trees, called “Datelx” (datilfresco@gmail.com), is using this technique and selling now the first crops, really with a very high quality and size. Other places to buy Elche fresh dates are Municipal Markets, Street Markets, Porta de la Morera Street 25, Porta de la Morera Street 49 (inside Huerto del Cura Garden, Plaza Rey Jaime 2, and in http://www.todopalmera.com (only in spanish).

"Confitera variety" fresh dates, by Datelx courtesy
"Confitera variety" fresh dates, by Datelx courtesy.