I love figs - fig preserve, fig jam, dried figs, fig rolls and best of all, sun ripened figs, freshly picked and eaten in the garden, whilst standing under the fig tree. My tree is almost large enough to stand under, this is it's first year of bearing fruit worth talking about. I was inspired by neighbors a few years ago to plant my own tree. They would leave a basket of figs at the end of their drive, with a sign that read "Fresh Figs - Help Yourself". And so I did, they were delicious, and I realized that I could grow my own.
My four year old fig tree - bearing enough fruit to pick and preserve.
Looking up into the tree, ripe, delicious figs waiting to be picked.
They are delicious, still warm from the sun.
Quartered fresh figs, fresh lemon zest added.
Bubbling away, about to become bottled "Drunken Figs"
The fruits of my labor. Bottles of figs, preserved, delicious, the shelves are stocked until next season.
I think it's time to let the neighbors know that they inspired me to plant my tree, with a bottle of preserves for them to try.
For those of you who are lucky enough to be able to pick your own figs, the recipe:-
9 cups quartered fresh figs
4 cups sugar
zest of 2 lemons - removed with veg peeler and then sliced into thin sticks
3/4 cup brandy
Add all the above ingredients to a heavy pot. Stand for 1 hour, stirring now and then.
Bring to a boil to melt sugar, reduce heat to medium and let it bubble away for about 45 minutes, stirring frequently. The juice of the figs, together with the sugar and the brandy, will make a delicious, sweet syrup, with a stunning flavor brought out by the lemon zest and brandy. Bottle and seal - if you're not sure how this process works, there are numerous websites that will give you step by step instructions. Each batch makes 8 small bottles, equal to 6 cups.
The Drunken Figs can be used as jam, on hot buttered toast or scones, my favorite way of serving them is with cheese - I display cheeses such as Brie, hard Goat cheese, or Blue, on a few freshly washed and dried fig leaves, together with a bowl of the preserved figs and it is delicious served on a cracker with a slice of cheese and a chunk of fig. Yum.