I've been comparing our fig shrubs with my new neighbour, no innuendo intended, honest! I was quite frankly jealous. Mine had taken nearly five years to produce a crop of any worth, while my neighbour's new home came with a large and prolific fig factory. But I was gobsmacked when she told me about she was throwing away 'bags of fruit' because she?d 'no idea what to do with them!'
But I had a cunning plan:
'Well you eat them of course!'
My neighbour had come armed with a selection, freshly-picked from her fig tree. I chose the ripest. They should be sweet smelling, almost brown and the texture soft and doughy without being mushy. Another a couple of days and it would be squidgy fly and wasp food.
'You put it in your mouth and chew it.''What, even the skin?'
'Yes.' And to prove my point I washed and halved it, then ate my piece first, to prove no harm would befall her. Her sceptical first bite was met with surprise and delight.
She's now begun avidly scrumping my apples, after realising fruit can be safe to eat, even if doesn't come in plastic packaging.
We recently holidayed in France with several other families. One evening we enjoyed a communal dinner. Our contribution was a big pot of ratatouille. Our friends commented on its fabulous flavour. I explained that it was the wild marjoram I'd picked from the hedgerow. I then pointed to an unhappy looking pot of mint dying outside a friend's tent and mentioned how that also grows wild, and by the barrow load, just a minute's walk from the campsite.I am always amazed that most of us chose to buy commercially-grown, heavily-packaged, and often imported food, when there's often a bonanza of fresher, tastier and free fruit and veg, literally within easy reach. Or maybe it's just me who knows how to show a girl a good thyme?