Friday, July 23, 2010

Preserving with Dr. Monkey

We've got a bumper crop of figs on the fig tree outside our house and they are ripening faster than Harry Reid can capitulate to the Republican minority in the US Senate, so I've begun making fig preserves. Here's what I did with the latest batch of ripe figs:

I washed and sliced them into halves and quarters. I ended up with 4 cups of figs. The recipe I use, which I got from a magazine called Mary Jane's Farm, calls for 1/4 of water and 1/2 cup of sugar per cup of figs, so I put one cup of water in my big pot and then I added 2 cups of sugar, and I used the dark brown 'raw' sugar this time, although I usually use plain old white sugar.
I brought the sugar and water mixture up to near boiling and then I added half the figs. I let then simmer in the sugar water for 20 minutes.
Then I added the other half of the figs and a pint of blueberries, I added the blueberries because I wanted to experiment with adding different flavors and fruits to the figs in an effort to find the best flavor combination. I let the figs and berries simmer for another 20 minutes.

While they simmered I took the zest from two lemons and the juice of one and a half of them and I added it to the figs and berries. The acid from the lemons helps preserve the fig mixture and it gives the flavor a little kick.
After my figs and berries finished cooking I put the whole shebang in the food processor and I pulsed it until everything was all chopped up and mixed together nicely. Then I put the hot fig/berry mixture into jars I had sterilized earlier.
I ended up with two smaller jars, those are 10 ounce jars I believe. And one full pint jar. The not quite full pint jar I put in the fridge after it cooled and we'll eat it first. The other jars I can store with the other jam I made earlier this year.

It tasted just fine but the figs over powered the blueberries a bit. However since we do have a booming crop of figs this year, I'll get more chances to experiment with flavors as the summer rolls on. I plan on adding some hot peppers to one batch of fig preserves this year because I love 'sweet heat.'

Coming up next time on 'Preserving With Dr. Monkey' I'll show you how I make and can salsa.


Anonymous said...

Damn! You have fig trees in your backyard? That's like some sort of science fiction thing to me. The very idea of a fig tree in your very own backyard. Diggity!

DrGoat said...

Our fig is about 2 years old and we're still waiting for figs. I think ours is the kind that are a lighter color, a bit golden.
I am extremely jealous, those are beautiful figs.

Lisa said...

That looks great, Doctor. I love your food posts.

Queen of Thoughts said...

YOU HAVE A FIG TREE? Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

I'm so jealous.

gmb said...

My brother has a fig tree that does well in southern New Jersey. Damn thing is really hardy. Can't make preserves with the figs, though. We eat all the fresh figs, and that's even with the tree producing bumper crops. Kudos to you for showing restraint and canning some.