The suurvy (sour fig) or Hottentots fig (goenavy) is the edible fruit of several species of Carpobrotus, thick-leaved members of the mesembryanthemum family indigenous to the southern and south-western Cape.
The yellow flowering C. edulis is the most common and widespread sour fig and is the one usually used for konfyt.
The best eating species, however, are C. acinaciformis, C. muirii and C. deliciosus (found in the Caledon/Bredasdorp area of South Africa). These plants have bright, purply-pink flowers and soft, tart fruits.
The green, fleshy leaves of the sour fig plant are high in tannin and can be used as a remedy to soothe stings and irritations of the skin.
The wrinkled brown fruits are available almost all year round but are best in late summer and autumn.
Though sourish and slightly salty, they make an excellent jam or preserve.
Use them before they are too dry and shrivelled; the skin should still be soft enough to remove easily after soaking.
Category: South African Cuisine