“I don’t give a fig.” I do, but where did that saying come from?


I have been given a huge plate of ripe figs and I am more than grateful for the gift.

The saying, I don’t give a fig”, means complete lack of concern about an event and it originates from the Spanish Fico (Fig) which gave its name to a traditional gesture of contempt made by placing the thumb between the first and second fingers. The gesture was common in Shakespeare’s time and was known as The Fig of Spain. The modern-day equivalent is the “V” sign.

The figs I was given have been turned into fig paste and fig sorbetto.

figsThis is just some of the figs.  I had more than two kilos to use.

fig paste

The fig paste is delicious with brie or camembert.



Fig paste recipe

  • 12 ripe figs pureed
  • 500g sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon

Combine the fig puree, sugar and lemon juice in a large saucepan and place over a medium heat.  Stir until the sugar dissolves and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally for 3 hours  or until the paste is very thick.

Grease the base and sides of ramekins and divide the paste evenly among the ramekins.  Leave to set overnight.  You can then remove from the ramekins and put in plastic wrap to refrigerate.

It was a bit tricky trying to get a photo of the fig sorbetto but here is my attempt.


fig sorbetThe sorbetto recipe included cream but there are sorbet recipes that don’t have cream.

Fig Sorbetto

  • 12 ripe figs
  • 200g vanilla sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 200ml thickened cream

Process the figs. Dissolve the sugar in the lemon juice over a low heat.  Leave to cool. Add the cream and lemon/sugar mix to the processed figs and process until smooth.

Slowly add the mixture (which must be cold) to your ice cream machine and churn until thick.  Store in a shallow container in the freezer.

Both the paste and the sorbet are delicious.



5 Comments Add yours

  1. Jennifer says:

    Oh boy that looks good. I’m going to look for some figs!

    1. suth2 says:

      We have a fig tree in our garden but the tree is only small and has only produced about a dozen figs. Hopefully it will produce more next year.

      1. Jennifer says:

        I hope so! We get blueberries here – way too cold for figs!

  2. What a lovely gift, I like both of your solutions.

    1. suth2 says:

      Next time I do fig sorbet I will make it without cream. I think I prefer sorbet less like ice cream and more like a fruit drink.

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