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Brevas are generally small fruits and have a bulbous base that slightly tapers to a pointed top, forming an oval to tear-drop shape. The skin is semi-smooth to wrinkled, firm, tough, and primarily green, sometimes appearing in shades of purple, red, and brown. Underneath the surface, the flesh is soft, aqueous, sticky, and white to purple, containing many small, edible seeds forming a partially hollow, central cavity. Brevas will vary in taste, depending on the specific variety, and may be sweet or have a subtly tart, nutty, green flavor.
Brevas are available in the late spring through early summer.
Brevas, botanically classified as Ficus carica, are the early fruits that grow on fig trees, belonging to the Moraceae family. Also known as Breba, Taqsh, and Early Figs, there are many different varieties of fig trees that produce Brevas around the world. Brevas grow from old branches that had produced the maincrop figs from the previous year. After Brevas are harvested, the next grouping of maincrop figs will grow from the newly sprouted branches, repeating the cycle each year. Brevas are considered to be rarer than maincrop figs as each tree will fluctuate in production, depending on the climate and variety, and some trees will produce a sizable harvest while others may only bear a couple of fruits. In culinary markets, especially in Spain and Colombia, Brevas are regarded as a delicacy due to their limited availability and are valued for their unpredictable, varying flavor from sweet to sour.
Brevas are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, which can boost the immune system and are a good source of fiber, which can help regulate the digestive tract. The fruits also contain minerals such as phosphorus, copper, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iron, and vitamins E and K.
Brevas are best suited for lightly cooked applications such as simmering and baking. The flavor of Brevas widely varies depending on the specific variety, and many of the fruits tend to have a slightly tarter taste. To help counteract the sour flavors, Brevas are frequently simmered in a sugar-based syrup to develop a soft consistency with a sweet flavor. The syrup-soaked fruits, also known as dulce de Brevas, are commonly served over oatmeal, ice cream, cakes, or paired with cheeses such as queso fresco. Brevas can also be stuffed with dulce de leche, cooked into jams and compotes, baked into pastries, and depending on the sweetness, they can sometimes be tossed into salads. Brevas pair well with cheeses such as mozzarella, goat, pecorino, roquefort, and queso fresco, prosciutto, ham, fish such as smoked salmon, herbs such as mint, basil, thyme, rosemary, and sage, honey, and walnuts. The fresh fruits will keep 2-3 days when stored in the refrigerator.
Brevas are traditionally eaten during the Fiesta de San Juan, also known as Saint John’s Eve and the Festival of Midsummer’s Eve. The event spans over multiple days and was initially created to recognize the birthday of John the Baptist on June 24th. In the modern-day, the festival has blended with other ancient traditions and is celebrated through many different practices depending on the region of the world. In Alicante, Spain, the festival is centered around large bonfires that are built from art pieces, furniture, and old wood. The bonfires represent protection against evil spirits, and the townspeople gather together to drink, eat, and watch teenagers jump over the fires. Brevas are consumed daily as a celebratory sweet during the festival as they come into season in the early summer, often coinciding with the summer solstice. The first fruits are seen as a symbol of the warmer days to come and are considered a delicacy for their rarity.
Figs are native to western Asia and were introduced into the Mediterranean in ancient times, where they were widely cultivated by the Greeks and Romans. In the early 16th century, Spanish missionaries and explorers brought the fruit to the New World and began breeding varieties, expanding the genetic diversity of figs. Today Brevas are found on multiple varieties of fig trees around the world, depending on the climate it is grown in, and the fruits are primarily sold at fresh local markets throughout Asia, Europe, North America, and South America.
Recipes that include Brevas Figs. One is easiest, three is harder.
|My Kitchen in Spain||Salad with Grilled Chicken and Figs|
|A Quirky Lifestyle||Colombian Carmel Stuffed Figs|