Brown Turkey Fig Taste?

lifesblessings(6/7)February 27, 2009

I'm in north central Oklahoma, on 'cusp' of zone 6/7 although the Arbor Foundation has decided we've changed to a zone 7... Some places say no figs can make it, some say Brown Turkey Fig will if you mulch well. I've even thought of surrounding it with posts so I could "drape it" in cold weather. Brown Turkey fig is available everywhere, even our local garden centers. I don't want to waste time on something that I won't want to eat. Please help.

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bonsaist(Z6/ Bethlehem, Pa)

Ask any fig grower that has more than a few varieties, will tell you Brown turkey is insipid.
I personally don't like it. That being said, Brown Turkey is very commonly mislabled as BT. So you'll find different variations.
Your area is probably warmer than mine. So I'm sure you'll be fine with growing figs.
Here's an article that will help you.


Here is a link that might be useful: Fig care in cold climate

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 6:28PM
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>>> Brown Turkey is very commonly mislabled as BT.
WHAT !?!?

In spite of some bad (stuff) being/had/been said about
the the BT; IT, and THE Celeste still remain as the
TOP MOST grown fig varieties within the whole USA.

I like both! Also, I recommend both as the very FIRST
fig experience for newbies. One could go more fancy later.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 12:23PM
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cmdrzog(6/7 LI NY)

What gorgi said.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 1:34PM
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bonsaist(Z6/ Bethlehem, Pa)

Ask Jon what he thinks of Brown Turkey. I haven't had one that was amazing. You probably had a mislabled Brown Turkey if it was that good. :-)
All Celeste figs I've tried were really good though.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 4:07PM
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Taste is in the tongue of the beholder :))

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 5:26PM
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Thanks Bass, your website is beautiful and your 'care in cold climate' is great. But most of the descriptions to individual figs are about their history (not taste). A tree (or two as I have now decided) is a very long term investment of time and space. I don't have a clue how to choose one variety over another. I need you fig experts and fig gourmets to help me make the right choice. Thank you so very much for your time!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 6:40PM
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pitangadiego(San Diego, CA)

Brown Turkey should not be taken internally. Don't know if it is any good for topical use.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 7:47PM
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peg919(Z6 CT)

My Brown Turkey tastes fine, at least in my zone and micro climate. Better than some others that I have.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 7:58PM
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bt in dallas is better than lsu purple, hardy chicago, versailles

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 8:43PM
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some say brown turkey is not so good, some say its ok, some say its pretty good, some say he says its not good or its good and they take there word for it. Fortunately when trying different cuts of steak you can tell the difference by tasting it simply by ordering it or buying and cooking it yourself and not have to wait several years as one does to see if THEY truly like it or not such as the case with a type of fig.
Everyone has a different opinion of tastes of figs and a different palate for this. I had a brown turkey tree and it was decent others may agree or disagree everyones is different what im trying to say.
Be careful just mulching any fig tree in your area as with a bad cold winter which happens it will set the tree back to where it has to grow from the ground and therfore hurt fruit production the following year. Wrap good and mulch would be a better way instead of just mulch and draping a tarp or similar losely around it. Either way buying a plant will take you the second year most likely to taste the fruit , perhaps you can grow several and decide instead of 1 and compare. Course then the fig bug will bite you and you will want to try other types as well. Hope i did not confuse things to much for you.In the end most look for that great tasting fig and in doing so get what a lot on forum call the fig bug so Welcome and Best Luck to you.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 8:46PM
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Hi Bass,
>>> Brown Turkey is very commonly mislabled as BT.
I now fully understand ... what you meant, was that
some/many UKNOWN figs are just labeled/marketed as
the (default!) BT.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 5:48AM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

I grew up in NJ, but spent my summers in Newport News, VA. My grandparents had two Brown Turkey fig trees in their backyard and I loved the taste. I still remember that aroma and taste of them and every so often, one of my Celeste figs will taste like I remember the BT tasting. They will have that taste if I pick them before they are dead ripe. (Oh, YUM, Celestes) I was little and my grandma would be peeling the BTs and I would be reaching up over the edge of the little table by the kitchen window, grabbing them and eating them as fast as Gramma would get them peeled. No one ever scolded me--That was so sweet of them. I and my family have lived in Louisiana since 1967 and I have a couple of Celeste trees. Just got some babies that are: Smith, TX Everbearing, Improved Celeste (a.k.a. O'Rourke), Brown Turkey and Hunt figs.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 1:17AM
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I find the California Brown Turkey to be very bland tasting. This is not the same fig as the English Brown Turkey, nor the same as Southeastern Brown Turkey (Texas Everbearing???), nor the same as the "Southern" Brown Turkey. The Southern Brown Turkey is an excellent tasting fig which I have heard is a bud sport of Celeste. Here in Louisiana 80% of the fig trees are either Celeste or Brown Turkey.....and both are very good.

I am trialing these different BT cultivars in my yard. My trees are still young......more later.


    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 10:26AM
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mrhappy(z8 - Austin, TX)


I believe you will really like your Hunt figs. They are sweet with a complex flavor - at least the ones from my tree.


    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 12:24PM
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phytomaniac(z7 NC)


You mention Hunt figs, which seems like a good choice for my area in north central north carolina. I have lots of room and want to try a few figs. I can find my other choices at some of the websites I have culled from the postings(Alma,Celeste, Excel) but not Hunt. Do you or anyone know of a source for this cultivar. Thanks so much.


    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 1:18PM
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I have a Brown Turkey, and it's a whole lot better than no figs. I ate one this week-end and I would have liked to have a bunch more. My wife actually prefers them. Personally I like the taste of Black Mission better, but I wish my black mission figs would get as big as my BTs... I shoulda taken a photo of the one I ate last week-end. It was pretty big and meaty.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 1:35PM
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Dennis AKA Snaglpus(8a)

To me (notice I said to me), I like the taste of fresh brown turkey figs. However, California BT figs do not taste good to me. But fresh brown turkey or Celeste from the Southeast are awesome! I have tasted Stella, Brunswick, and Black Jack are also very good fresh. Like others say, it is a matter of taste. cheers, Dennis

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 7:23PM
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I am growing both Brown Turkey and Celeste right now, both look very much the same at this stage (leaves, Fig development/color/size.) I have not got to the point of ripeness yet but they look so far like they will be big and tastey ( I hope what some say about BT is false) because mine looks awesome. (Leaves bigger than my hands)

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 8:19PM
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What Dan said. In this climate, some of the figs labeled Brown Turkey can be very good, especially when they have nearly dried on the tree.


    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 10:55PM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

Perhaps the California BT is insipid in flavor, but the BTs on the East Coast and South are quite good, especially when they are REALLY ripe. I know my grandma's trees were BTs from all the descriptions of BTs.

Also, if your figlets' "eyes" remain green until just before they ripen, they are Celestes. If the "eye" is pink through to ripening, BT is a strong bet.

Right now, I'd just love to taste ANY ripe figs!!!

Celeste, (the tree's name) out back is full of figlets that are getting bigger every day. The mockingbirds are always in the tree scoping out the progress of the figlets just like I am. They are so smart. They know how to check the figs. The nets go up soon, as Legacy, the Celeste tree in the front yard, is also full of figlets as well. Legacy has grown crazy this Spring, as well.

Can someone tell me, if the tree is pruned in the Spring, does it grow more vigorously than if the tree were pruned in the fall when it's dormant?

Also, am I the only fig nut to name her trees? I know some people have way too many to name, but I only have 8 trees right now.

I have Hunter, the Hunt tree; Miz Smith, the Smith tree; Tex, the TX Everbearing; Imp, the Improved Celeste and the BT and the LSU Purple don't have names yet. I know, I'm crazy.


    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 11:43PM
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girlbug2(z9/10, Sunset zone 24)

I've tasted several California BTs from different local trees here, and let me tell you, they *are* insipid. That being said, combined with the right ingredients they still make great jam.

Some day I will have to try to get out east to try the eastern and southern versions of BT.

to the OP--do you know if the figs being sold in your area are California BTs or some other?

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 11:11AM
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I have two fig trees. One I bought as a "brown turkey" however I am almost certain it is actually a Celeste. It's figs are awesome. I love them. They are small to medium and very sweet with a thin skin. My other fig I have no idea what it is. Taken from an offshoot of an old tree in my MOm's yard, which was probably planted in the early 70s. It has larger triangular fruit and open eye. It tastes quite different from my probably Celeste. I do not like the taste of this fig nearly as much as my probably Celeste. I have had some people tell me my mystery fig may be Brown Turkey. It's figs are triangular with a wide base. They are brownish tinged with green when ripe with pinkish flesh. The skin is thick and the flesh is not as sweet as the probably Celeste and there is something else about the flavor that is distinctive but hard to describe, but it is not a taste I like particularly. I think it may be a flavor coming from the thicker skin. So if this is BT, I'm not a big fan of the flavor. I vote for Celeste :)

If anybody wants to see pictures of my mystery figs, you can see them here:;authkey=Gv1sRgCKiIrqux4KPkoQE&feat=directlink

Fig 1 is the one sold as Brown Turkey that I think is really Celeste
Fig 2 is the mystery fig that doesn't taste as good as fig 1.


Here is a link that might be useful: Shannon's Fig Pictures

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 12:57PM
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I have three Brown Turkey fig trees. We love them production is adequate and the ripening figs tastes sweet. I air layered another three trees from the variety. Just I a wondering why do they call it Brown Turkey. I cover them in a sort of home made green house and have no problem with the freezing weather.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 12:26AM
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My friend Mario has a B.T.fig a heavy producer of large very good figs,yes I do have better tasting figs but over all this fig is very good.Ciao,

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 6:25AM
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