Herzegovina Dried Figs

Fruit, nuts and fruit preserves - Bosnia and Herzegovina

In the open-air markets of Trebinje, Stolac and Mostar of southern Bosnia and Herzegovina, one can find traditionally dried black and white petrovača figs. These figs are harvested early in the morning, before fully ripe, when their skin is wrinkled. The fruits are harvested with the stems still on to help prevent spoilage or attacks from flies. They are then placed on wire racks and placed in shallow boxes. They are then lightly coated in plain flour to protect the fruits’ skin from insects. The figs are then air dried for up to two months, after which time they are ready for consumption. In Herzegovina, they are traditionally served with the alcoholic drink grape rakija. Figs have long been cultivated in dried in the area for many centuries. Herzegovinian dried figs are mainly produced in Adriatic Herzegovina, from the banks of the Neretva River to the banks of the Bregava and Trebižat Rivers, including the Popovo polje (plains) and Mostarsko pojle and valley, and part of the areas of Neretvanska and Trebinjsko polje. While they can be found at local markets, they have long been produced mainly for home consumption. Now, some restaurants specializing in local gastronomy also offer this specialty. However, the traditionally dried product made from black and white petrovača figs is threatened by industrially dried figs, dried through fast, mechanical dehydration, which decreases the flavor and nutritional quality of the fruit. A process of rapid fermentation renders the industrially produced dried figs flavorless, and in no way reminiscent of the dried black and white petrovača figs.