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Native Sweet Sandpaper Fig Ficus Opposita
100+ very freshly harvested seeds!
Had a lot of interest in this fella, and its not surprising really if you have ever tasted one!
Awesome, shop quality fruit. Not just “bushtucker”, but a delicious soft sweet treat!!!
Unfortunately they are just too soft for them to be transported or marketed commercially, so there is a big chunk of Australia (and the world!) that is really missing out.
This is NOT, F. coronata, F. capreifolia, F. coronulata, F. fraseri, F. scobina, or any of the other native Sandpaper figs we have in OZ.
It is the good one, and the only one worth growing in my opinion, Ficus opposita, or the “Sweet Sandpaper Fig”.
They are all edible and quite nutritious, but the others are fibrous, granular and full of sap a lot of the year. Fine if your hungry, but only if your quite hungry….
These guys are nothing like the others so if you have ever eaten a native fig and didn’t like it, don’t let that cloud your judgment.
This guy is incredible soft, sweet and fragrant. Drooling just thinking about them!
They have awesome deep green leaves with white veins, and the leaves themselves are said to have been used for sanding boomerang and spears.
Anyone who has actually ever made a spear or boomerang will tell you this is nonsense as they are far too soft, but that’s the myth that prevails.
They were use for treating fungal conditions however. The skin was abraded with the very rough leaves to remove the damaged tissue, and the latex like sap was applied to kill remaining spores and seal the wound, protecting it from further infections.
Works well I am told. I myself have used the sap on an itching spider bite and it stopped the itch and infection of the wound.
But forget all that, just grow them for the fruit!
They are truly awesome straight off the tree. They are growing in a few parks and gardens in the Sydney area so they can handle a bit of cold and frost.
The natural range is from about Byron Bay up, right to the tip and across the Gulf country. The only thing that stops them down south is competition from the other varieties.
These guys make the BEST jam and fig paste and due to the super high pectin content they are great to add to other jams you may be making later on during the year.
I always freeze a few to use later as an emergency thickening agent when making jams and relishes that don’t look like they are going to set properly. Roselle and native hibiscus for example can be tricky at times, so its handy to have a little baggie of these put aside in the freezer just in case.
Better than that powdered pectin stuff and free if you grow your own.
I reckon you could dry or dehydrate it too, then use it as a thickener later too, but to be honest I have not got around to testing it yet. I always end up eating them because they taste great dried…
Just finely chop a couple or if lazy/rustic like me just smash them with the back of a knife while still frozen and chuck them into the mix, works like a charm.
My recipe for sandpaper fig paste is super simple.
3cups fruit + 1 cup sugar.
High heat for 5mins while stirring, smashing up the fruit a bit with a wooden spoon.The sugar dissolves and a lovely purple sauce develops as the skins melt off the fruit.
Turn down to low and cook for 30-45mins.
Wack it in a couple clean jars. Stores for ages, couple years easily.
If you want to be fancy you can pass it through a sieve before bottling, and a pinch of mixed spice and/or a squeeze of lemon really does add something cool to it.
Not at all necessary though, tastes awesome as it is.
You can use the jam/paste as per normal on toast or pancakes, but another great way to have it is as a stuffing in meat dishes.
Roll out your chosen meat, slap on some figgy awesomeness, roll it up.
Tie it in place or wrap in foil then roast, BBQ, or cook as per normal.
Easy to grow and the seeds store well too.
3year old seeds that I found last year were all up within a few months and I am often getting emails from excited folks overseas amazed by the strike rate they are getting from them.
Takes a while sometimes but incredibly viable, especially when compared to others Ficus species.
That’s about it?
Grown by us organically, no nasties, no chems, no problems!!!