August visitors to Ocracoke are privileged to experience an annual island tradition-the harvesting of Ocracoke figs. For the uninitiated, this experience will be a culinary highlight. One bite of a ripe, juicy, sweet fig will make anyone a true convert to man’s centuries-old love affair with this luscious treat.
Figs were first transported to the New World by Spanish and Portuguese missionaries in the early 16th Century. There are now at least 9 varieties of Fig plants on Ocracoke Island and you can see them providing fruit in the sweltering months of summer. The plants will probably be surrounded by a thick ring of oyster and other shells since it is believed by many that these shells provide necessary lime to fertilize the figs.
Keep your eye out for all 9 varieties next time you’re on Ocracoke. In the meantime, here’s another great use for the abundance of figs this time of year.
(makes 2 cocktails)
- 1 cup fresh figs, rinsed & halved
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons water
- Juice of half a lemon
To make the puree, add all of the puree ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth. You can make this ahead and store it in the refrigerator, or use immediately. Note that this makes enough puree for about 4 cocktails and keeps in the refrigerator for a few days.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fig puree
- 1 tablespoon honey (more or less depending on the sweetness of the puree)
- 2 oz ginger ale
- 1.5 oz vodka (or more to taste)
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
To make the cocktail, add the fig puree and honey to a shaker. Stir it together with a spoon until it is well combined. Add the remaining ingredients and top with ice. Shake well and strain the mixture into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a few figs.
Recipe and Photos from Savor Home. History from The Ocracoke Observer