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  • How Does Everyone Feel About the Word Umami When Talking About Figs?

    Umami defined: "a strong meaty taste imparted by glutamate and certain other aminoacids: often considered to be one of the basic taste sensations along with sweet, sour, bitter, and salty."

    A close friend of mine described Smith & Preto as having an umami taste to them.

    Does anyone else feel this way? What other figs would you say have an Umami flavor?
    Zone 7A - Philadelphia
    Flavor Profiles & Variety List / Facebook / YouTube / Blog

  • #2
    Could you give an example of something with that kind of taste? I'm having trouble imagining what it is.
    7B Southern NJ

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    • #3
      To me, in SE Asian cuisine, umami is a depth/complexity of flavor when something has oyster sauce or fish sauce in it, like Tom Yum Goong soup, if you've had it. The soup itself is sour, salty, and spicy, but the umami is the richness and depth... if that makes sense.
      Zone 7a in Virginia

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      • #4
        Bacon, prosciutto, etc... IMO its a mouth feel, an earthiness, richness... a chewiness without the chew... Some red wines have it, some beers as well....
        Tony - Zone 6A
        WL- Good Health, a 60 lb Striped Bass, a Boone and Crockett Typical Buck, bushels of ripe Black Madeira figs, bushels of ripe Hachiya and other tasty Diospyros Kaki Persimmons

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        • #5
          Umami simply means savory... and is usually a mixture of different flavors creating a new distinct flavor.
          Like a good barbecue sauce that has been cooked / reduced with the meat juices, fats, oils and carbon from grilling.

          You can use the term, but IMO describing the flavor as "Complex" or "Something Extra" means the same thing. An attempt should be made to liken the flavors to something that has actually been tasted by a larger group of people, for example a "Nutty Flavor" like sesame seeds...
          Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

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          • #6
            I'm glad that you defined the word right off the bat. I had no idea what it meant...

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            • #7
              Some folks have referred to certain elite figs (Preto?) as having a "smoky" flavor and I think I have noted this as well but not this year. Perhaps that is the same flavor as your friend is detecting.
              Steve
              D-i-c-k-e-r-s-o-n, MD; zone 7a
              WL: Castillon, Fort Mill Dark, White Baca

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              • ross
                ross commented
                Editing a comment
                Have you tasted anything else with that "smoky" flavor, Steve? What else would you consider "elite."

              • ofon
                ofon commented
                Editing a comment
                Cigarettes sometimes give a smokey flavor that I've noticed! Blackened Cajun chicken on a serious note though...Things like ponzu sauce that you get in sushi restaurants as well

            • #8
              I really am quite simple when it comes to discussing the taste of figs, I have never had a fig that tasted like a berry, or melon, and have never had a berry or melon that tastes like a fig. I do understand different intensities of figs and levels of sweetness. As an example, my LSU Scott's Black has a very intense fig flavor but is not as sweet as my LSU Gold. The LSU Hollier, when fully ripe has a great combination of both. As I posted in another thread about taste; My flavor categories are a little bit more simplistic:

              Wonderful
              Great
              Not so great
              Good
              Better than nothing

              I have the same issues with wine, LOL except with wine I would add -"VERY BAD"

              I do understand the "Umami" concept of taste.
              Wish List - Any LSU fig

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              • Fygmalion
                Fygmalion commented
                Editing a comment
                Ross, for the wines that taste like feet, the wine berries may have been crushed using the old fashion method of foot stomping.... hahaha There are many stages to wine production and many stages through which the taste evolves... the final stage is "throw it out"... :-)

              • cjmach1973
                cjmach1973 commented
                Editing a comment
                would those be the cooking wines?

              • drew51
                drew51 commented
                Editing a comment
                I never tasted feet, but I'll take your word on it.

            • #9
              I still don't know what it means. I don't like it simply for that reason. A cheeseburger is umami. So is french fries and ketchup. Green tea, carrots, beef, etc. I guess it is related to the glutamate content like MSG and pairings but I just don't get it or taste the connections.

              Bad wines....tried making one out of orange juice once...Wow! Was that ever disgusting! Just like I would expect Pinesol to taste.
              Don - OH Zone 6a Wish list: Verdolino, Black Celeste

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              • Fygmalion
                Fygmalion commented
                Editing a comment
                I make orange juice "wine" all the time... through the liberal addition of tequila or vodka... :-) add some Galliano liqueur to the vodka and that "wine" is a real Wallbanger... (Sorry Harvey!) :-)

            • #10
              Originally posted by lauralou View Post
              I'm glad that you defined the word right off the bat. I had no idea what it meant...
              You are not alone At first I figured Ross had lost his mind, why is he talking about soybeans, then noticed it wasn't edamame but apparently my brain SAW the word closest to one that it knew.
              Cutting sales will start Tuesday Nov 1 at 9:00 eastern

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              • cjmach1973
                cjmach1973 commented
                Editing a comment
                seaweed popped in my head-nori

              • Go_Figger
                Go_Figger commented
                Editing a comment
                Lol

              • mallgenl
                mallgenl commented
                Editing a comment
                That's not really that far off... soy beans when made into soy sauce has very high concentrations of umami compounds

            • #11
              Ross fyi there must have been a confusion, I don't think Smith is umami, and as for Preto, what I said was I don't disagree with someone else's comment that Preto has an umami taste.
              Rafael
              Zone 10b, Miami, FL

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            • #12
              Hmmm My Smith is fruity and indescribably complex but no way umami. U can ask Jamie, she got to try one!
              Rafael
              Zone 10b, Miami, FL

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              • #13
                i wouldn't use it It is overdone word and used by "foodie" wanna be and I am personally tired of hearing it. Figs have nice descriptive words to describe their taste Hope I am not sent to the corner with a crayon up my nose for giving my opinion..........

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                • ross
                  ross commented
                  Editing a comment
                  To the corner with you!!

                • Dtownfigs
                  Dtownfigs commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I’m in agreement with lilfiggy

              • #14
                My first fig off my Figo Preto this year seemed to have a hint of an umami taste added to its complexity, sort of like a whiff of soy sauce. I didn't like it. The figs off of it since then don't have that taste and are pure berry jam. I don't know why the change.
                Mara, Southern California,
                Climate Zone: 1990=9b 2012= 10a 2020=?

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                • #15
                  ah ross I spend so much time in the corner my face is getting warped. LOL

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                  • #16
                    I hadn't seen this old thread... At least I know what umami means now, I think! Lol! The soup looks delicious boo72....like my mom's vegetable soup!
                    Bill
                    New Madrid, Mo. Z7

                    ——

                    We all bleed fig-honey!

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                    • eboone
                      eboone commented
                      Editing a comment
                      that was deleted due to repeat spam

                    • Mr.Figs
                      Mr.Figs commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Spam soup.... Lol

                  • #17
                    Might boo72 be a scammer? Second post with the exact same wording.

                    If not, welcome to the forum.
                    Cheryl (f/k/a VeryNew2Figs) Zone 5a/6a
                    What I'm growing: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it?usp=sharing

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                    • eboone
                      eboone commented
                      Editing a comment
                      no longer a member here...

                  • #18
                    You are on the ball.
                    Cheryl (f/k/a VeryNew2Figs) Zone 5a/6a
                    What I'm growing: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it?usp=sharing

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                    • #19
                      I never expected to here the word “Umami” to describe the taste of a fig! Umami is supposed to represent savory. If a fig tasted savory I would be rather concerned to be honest 😅
                      Victoria
                      Australia (Zone 10a)

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                      • #20
                        Kind of reminds me of meat, so I’m a thumbs down on it as a term to describe figs. I’m
                        Wish list. White Baca, Kafe Te Jiate, Crozes, Angelito, TD Yellow Crinkle, Brown Sugar Crunch

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                        • #21
                          Yeah no 👎
                          Actively seeking any and all varieties
                          #Sharing is caring
                          Courtenay, BC 🇨🇦 zone 8a

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                          • #22
                            The presence of Umami is important for some crops and measurable by chemical test. A few years ago I saw a Umami measurement device offered by manufacturer of hand-held digital analyzers.
                            Fruit crazed in Vista CA. http://tangentvectors.org

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                            • #23
                              Dried and re-constituted mushrooms, and anchovies are often added to build umami flavor in some dishes.
                              “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Source Unknown MA 5b/6a
                              Part Owner at Catskill Mountain Lavender

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                              • Richard
                                Richard commented
                                Editing a comment
                                Try beef and mission fig pie.

                            • #24
                              MSG is concentrated umami
                              Actively seeking any and all varieties
                              #Sharing is caring
                              Courtenay, BC 🇨🇦 zone 8a

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                              • #25
                                Not quite sure if this counts as umami, but it was very rich. At the end of our Italy vacation, we stopped in Nice for 2 1/2 days. At one place for dinner I had a camembert cheese & fig salad. The camembert cheese and the figs were wrapped in philo dough and lightly baked, then drizzled with honey and placed on a toastini. The rich savoriness of the camembert cheese was nicely cut by the fig and honey and given a nice crunch by the pastry wrapping. It was absolutely superb.

                                Click image for larger version  Name:	20190712_Camembert & Fig 1.jpg Views:	0 Size:	472.5 KB ID:	557425
                                Click image for larger version  Name:	20190712_Camembert & Fig 2.jpg Views:	0 Size:	75.2 KB ID:	557426
                                Jason. San Diego, CA - Zone 10A WL: Boysenberry Blush

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                                • a.tibor
                                  a.tibor commented
                                  Editing a comment
                                  you are killing me. Im fat and just getting home from work and very very hangry
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