Monday, September 14, 2015
What to do with all the booty
This year, with its hottest summer on record, seems to have worked wonders in the field. I am told that the grapes are promising, the olives are abundant and I can certainly attest to the incredible fig harvest of 2015, which is petering out only now.
Each time the figs are harvested they come inside in basketfuls, at least 5 kilos at a time. We have six trees with two varieties of fig, one all yellow-green outside and similar inside, with a pinkish tinge, the other yellow-green outside but a wonderful strawberry-jam red on the inside.
The figs arrive in various stages of ripeness and consequently require constant sorting into ripe, unripe and almost there. If you refrigerate them in the 2nd two stages they keep well, if you leave them out they ripen very, very quickly.
The trick is to do as much with them as possible in as short a time as possible.
In Turkey there is a saying that a good provider knows how to cook egg plant/aubergines 100 different ways. I'd say the same applies to figs.
I don't know about 100, but we have found a few ways of processing figs so that we can enjoy this bountiful crop for as long as possible.
The list so far:
fig jam, fig purée, fig and ginger chutney, fig sorbet, fig cake, figs baked in marsala, figs in syrup, figs in brandy, fig paste, fig comfit, sun-dried figs, oven-dried figs, figs with roast lamb, pork or pheasant and of course fresh figs with prosciutto or cheese, honey and thyme (a friend's felicitous combination).
We're currently working on Mrs Beeton's classic version.