Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Fig of the Week #21: Black Madeira

Black Madeira aka Figo Preto aka Violeta

Hardiness: Zone 8B - Needs frost protection here in Seattle
Type: Unifere common fig that does not need to be fertilized by a caprifig
Fruit Ripens: Late October - November
Fruit Color: Black and red pulp
Taste: Mind Blowing! Intensely rich strawberry
Fruit Weight: 53 grams - Medium sized

Through the last couple of years I've purchased Black Madeiras from various sources. The tree from KK produced for me after a couple years in 2016. It was worth wait because a ripe Black Madeira is one of the best figs you will ever taste!

Crazy about Black Madeira

Originally brought over from the Island of Madeira in Portugal to California over 50 decades ago the tree has become legendary amongst collectors for it's amazing taste and richness.  It adopted the name Black Madeira when it reached California, characterizing the color and where it came from originally. It's known as Figo Preto on Madeira Island, which means Black Fig. Violeta is a more ancient name of the fig in other parts of Portugal.

How to recognize a Black Madeira fig

Leaves: The leaves can be one lobed or 3 lobed with NO cankles. This leaf below is the typical shape.

Fruit: The fruit has a lovely bell shaped. It's firm and can be enjoyed without getting overly ripe. The black color is sometimes speckled by tiny white dots. The syconium wall is thick which helps it hold its shape and gives it that wonderful bite and texture. The pulp is red and often times there is a small cavity in the center of the fruit.

Growth Habit: 
Black Madeiras are slow growers, probably because so much of it's energy goes into the growing it's fruit. The slow growth and it's difficulty to root creates high demand and tends to drive it's prices relatively high. If you get a cutting and it's shoots out a ton of growth, you probably have been scammed.

Some of my cuttings took literally 6-8 months to root and leaf out.

Conclusion: If you do not have a Black Madeira. Get one!

Taste: 11
Size: 6
Productivity: 4
Total = 21

Tasting Video

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