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  • The Fig in South-Africa by J. de V. Lötter

    Yesterday, Jake-ZA posted a link to The Fig in South-Africa by J. de V. Lötter http://www.elsenburg.com/sites/defau...%2029jul14.pdf

    I skimmed the book this morning and highly recommend it to those of you who enjoy tracking down and identifying rare fig varieties. This 182 page book gives extensive historical information about figs, their introduction into South Africa, and contains many beautiful color photos. Did you know that an Egyptian tomb painting shows a fig harvest? (pg. 12)

    It details South African orchard culture and pruning methods, and even tells how many centimeters long (10-20 cm) a Col de Damme Noire branch should be for optimum fig production. (pg. 53)

    The chapter on Fig Cultivars in South Africa (pg. 102) is one of the most interesting because it has photos, historical information, and useful data about fig production of various fig cultivars that are gown in South Africa. One example of the type of detailed information in The Fig in South-Africa is, "‘Banana’ Fig (syn. Longue d’Août (Long August), Angolan Fig, Figue Banana, Nella) (Baud et al., 2005; Condit, 1955) Origin: According to Baud (2005), this exceptional fig cultivar is possibly from Turkey, but has been well known in France for some time. Condit (1955) also called it ‘Longue d’Août’, and mentioned that it was known in the USA." There are photos (one shows a fig the size of a coffee mug!) and additional descriptions of the Banana fig which seem to contradict the idea that Banana is the same as the Kadota fig. (pg. 123)

    The last chapter of The Fig in South-Africa is devoted to Utilizing the Fig. (pg.152) It contains recipes for whole green fig preserves, drying, jams, chutney, etc. There's a complete recipe list on page 180.

    Sending a big thank you to Jake-ZA for sharing this very interesting book with Our Figs!
    Christine (Waddell, AZ Zone 9b) Wishlist: All my fig wishes have been fulfilled by OurFigs members. Thank you!

  • #2
    I can attest to the wonder of whole green fig preserve. My entire motivation for starting to grow figs is to make my own whole green fig preserve. Everything else I can get locally but those whole green figs. I miss them dearly... among a few other things from back in South Africa.

    Thanks, Jake-ZA.
    Tyrone Genade
    Johnson City, TN, Zone 6b
    Wishlist: Atreano, Florea, Panache, Red Lebanese (BK), RdB,

    Comment


    • #3
      I really enjoyed reading it as well.
      I'm going to have to give that S. African green chutney recipe a try. Just wish I could find some boerewors locally.
      Thanks Jake-ZA!

      Now that I think about it, I bet figs would be good in rusks.
      FL 10a
      Wish list: Improved Celeste, Malta Black, St Rita, Smith, LSU Scott's Black, Col De Dama Gris, CLBC, De La Senyora "Hivernenca"

      Comment


      • tyronegenade
        tyronegenade commented
        Editing a comment
        We gave the recipe to the local butcher and they produced a pretty decent boerewors. Next up they are going to get a droerwors recipe and then that will go into my biltong maker. :-)

        The green fig preserve is very good on pizza with prosciutto ham and brie cheese. Also just on toast with some brie or camembert.

    • #4
      Well, what a find. I've already read half of it and it's a mine of interesting - and sometimes debatable - information relevant to all members of this site (though non-South Africans should probably skip a few sections).
      I wonder why it is free, as it was obviously intended to be published in old-fashioned book form?

      I'm not really sure which type readership it's aimed at. Could that be the reason why it wasn't published as a book?

      Anyway, full of interesting stuff, so thank you Chistine and Jake SA.
      Don, Danmark

      Comment


      • dondan
        dondan commented
        Editing a comment
        Well, Koos Lötter's book does appear to have been published in paper form, in Afrikaans at least.

      • tyronegenade
        tyronegenade commented
        Editing a comment
        One of the most striking things, when coming to the US, was seeing all the books for sale at Walmart. This doesn't happen in South Africa. There aren't as many readers in South Africa so I guess a book on figs has a very limited audience. Those that would be interested would be farmers and those involved in confection cottage industries and these people are principally Afrikaans speaking.

    • #5
      Awesome sounding book! I think figsitting would find this very useful since her and her family live in South Africa. Find those rarities!
      Nyc zone 7b Wish List: For everyone’s cuttings to root!

      Comment


      • figsitting
        figsitting commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks for thinking of me I'll definitely look into it!

      • fettuccine
        fettuccine commented
        Editing a comment
        No problem! I think it's great to be able to reference a book solely about figs for South Africa

    • #6
      I found it interesting that both Panache and Col De Dame Blanc were described in the book as figs of moderate to inferior quality, and therefore not suitable for commercial production. Doesn't sound like the same figs we grow here! I know location is key, but I have a hard time believing that the Col de Dame figs grown anywhere that they would ripen would be considered as "inferior".
      Richard - San Diego 10a

      Comment


      • crademan
        crademan commented
        Editing a comment
        Perhaps Panche and Col De Dame Blanc bruise too easily when ripe to ship -- that would make them inferior to more durable fruits as a market product.

    • #7
      To be honest,I've posted quite a few references to the book, but they've been hidden in various comments on different threads!

      The book is free, I think, because it's published by the government associated Western Cape Dept of Agriculture. That region of South Africa specialises in deciduous fruit, and the Dept produces reports and pamphlets about their cultivation. The area figsitter and lewi are in is near Nelspruit/Mbombela, which is an area specialising in sub-tropical fruit. Years ago I got pamphlets on Macadamia, Pecan, Mango, Litchi and Cashew production from that provincial dept.

      I saw a reference to the book on the Giving Trees web site (http://givingtrees.co.za/specialist-...e-introduction), and emailed the given contact, asking for price etc. They emailed back, asking for my postal address and a week or two later, a copy arrived in the post. I didn't pay anything. Downside of the hard copy is that it's not bound very well. I discovered the online pdf after receiving the hard copy.

      The anomalies in the book, I think, are because it's geared towards, or has origins in, commercial fig production. Criteria in this part of the world are having or developing a market niche, the ability to survive being shipped (or more accurately air-freighted) to Europe, and a growing season that matches demand. The glaring anomaly for me is dismissing Ronde de Bordeaux as of no commercial interest - the variety has been turned into a very successful export product. So not everyone believes it's recommendations are engraved in tablets of stone...

      If you're interested in more history and a good description of the process, here's an old article I found ("Caprification of Smyrna Figs") in the South African Agricultural Journal, published some time in 1911(?):




      http://journals.co.za/docserver/full...B59BF2093CA1DB




      The article can be downloaded as a 10 page PDF from this link.
      Last edited by Jake-ZA; 10-16-2018, 10:54 PM.
      Grahamstown/Makhanda, Eastern Cape, South Africa: Zone 10b (30km to coast by crow, 65km by road)

      Comment


      • #8
        Yes, some of it seems to geared towards commercial fig production, and yet it includes things like a picture of "pruning equipment" - ordinary pruning shears and a pruning saw - which would appear to be aimed more at beginners. So a little quirky in places, as for example the inclusion of a full page photo of the author in a nectarine orchard ...
        Don, Danmark

        Comment


        • Jake-ZA
          Jake-ZA commented
          Editing a comment
          The book seems to me like a work sanctioned pre-retirement project?
          Last edited by Jake-ZA; 10-17-2018, 09:54 AM.

        • dondan
          dondan commented
          Editing a comment
          Yes, I agree, Jake. That's exactly what occurred to me.

      • #9
        But did you know that the variety Zidi, which I have avoided because it is a smyrna type, can be used as an excellent rootstock, since it is a vigorous grower and nematode resistant? Lots of interesting stuff like this in the book.
        Don, Danmark

        Comment


        • #10
          I have never tasted a Kadota or been to south Africa. What I can tell you is my Banana fig tasted like a dang banana! Yellow with sugar spots on the outside and amber flesh. The distinctive flavor was a surprise. Didn't think it would be that pronounced. Does anyone think their kadota looks and taste like that?

          Comment


          • crademan
            crademan commented
            Editing a comment
            The few Kadota figs we had that did not get ruined by June & July's 110˚F. high temperature weather pattern did not taste at all like bananas. They had a very mild honey fig flavor profile. I think the neutral flavor might be one reason that Kadotas are used in commercial cookie recipes.

          • Jake-ZA
            Jake-ZA commented
            Editing a comment
            I think the "banana fig" referred to might be a Dalmatie? I have Kadota's and they look nothing like that... they're much smaller, for one thing.

        • #11
          "Fig trees easily form suckers, which sometimes develop from buds on the tree roots. These suckers can also be used as propagation material, but they tend to produce suckers themselves."

          Is this last assertion true?
          Don, Danmark

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