Monday, July 12, 2010
There are many reasons for doing things in life. Like joining the Army for instance. The best reason I could come up with for doing that was that I look good in green. When I finished my active duty service, I could have gone anywhere in the world and done anything I wanted, but I moved back to Louisiana for one reason and one reason only: figs.
I love the figs that grow in my yard. Isn’t it strange how we are motivated by food?
I am blessed to live in southern Louisiana and to have a nice bit of land. I currently have 4 and 1/4th fig trees. These figs are totally organic. I do nothing for them – no fertilizer, pesticides, nothing. In that way – I can just walk up to the tree and eat fig as I please! I used to have 5 fig trees until one of them got hit by a strange root rot disease about a month ago and just fell apart in one week. I was sad beyond belief! I plan on planting a few more trees. I just can’t imagine life on the bayou without fresh figs in July!
This is my “Celeste” fig tree. This tree produces the brown figs. They are sweet and yummy!
This is the tree that I lost recently. There are a couple of limbs left. It produced larger green figs.
These are my 3 other small fig trees that just don’t want to grow big and tall – not sure why.
This is what figs look like on the tree in various stages of ripeness. It is recommended that when you pick figs that you be extra careful – the sap from the tree makes you itch really bad. Wearing long sleeves is a good thing – even with the summer heat. Wasps love to eat the sweet fruit, also. As do the birds!
Saturday morning my dad got up bright and early and picked us a nice mess of figs! I decided that I must make fig preserves. In the past, I have made my fig preserves using whole figs. I have also cut my figs in half. This time, I decided that I wanted to chop up the figs for a more spreadable preserve. When you leave the figs whole, or only cut them in half, they maintain their shape.
The ingredient list is short and sweet – pun intended ( gosh I crack myself up sometimes). Figs, sugar and water. That is it.
I cut the stem end off of the figs if they are still attached because I do not like to eat those.
I chop up the figs and put them in a non-stick pot.
For the amount I had, I added 4 cups of water and 6 cups of sugar. I figure I had about 16 cups of raw figs. I also added a pinch of salt, because I add that to everything. I turned the fire to medium, medium-high and brought the mixture to a boil.
An interesting yellow foam formed on the top. I skimmed that off and discarded that icky stuff. I cooked the preserves for about 2 hours until most of the water evaporated out and the preserves were as thick as I wanted them to be. I turned off the stove and let the preserves cool in the pot for a while.
I store the preserves in plastic containers. These hold 2 cups each. That means I made 12 cups of preserves! I am more than pleased! They sure are tasty and delicious! My sister, Camille, requested 2 containers, my dad gets 1, I get 2, and my Aunt Rowena get 1. You can freeze these.
I will be making more in a couple of days, and every couple of days until the figs run out. I plan on freezing my preserves so I can have some all year. I love my fig preserves!
I do not add spices to my fig preserves because I think that the taste of the figs is perfect. If I want to enjoy the taste of cinnamon – I will make cinnamon toast.
Oh – by the way – I did make the bread in this photo, also – it is a light wheat with flax. Talk about good!