Author Topic: Figs..?  (Read 1874 times)

Offline Crystal

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Figs..?
« on: December 17, 2011, 01:50:37 PM »
I have figs, lots and lots of figs. But i know nothing about them, and have no idea what to do with them all! Any one here familiar with figs or what i can do with them all. Currently the kids are grabbing a cricket bat, stealing the figs and belting them into the neighbours back yards...
I dont know what to put here...
Crystal ;-)


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Offline zenith1

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Re: Figs..?
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2011, 02:02:12 PM »
I love Figs. Unfortunately I don't even live in the same hemisphere let alone your neighborhood!
Keith

Offline Cloversmilker

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Re: Figs..?
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2011, 02:31:15 PM »
Fresh figs are good to eat plain.  I also love fig preserves with walnuts.  Very good with fresh cream cheese on crackers.  And you can also dry them to use later in baking.  Do you have fig newtons in Oz?

Offline iratherfly

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Re: Figs..?
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2011, 03:07:07 PM »
My family has two gorgeous fig trees in the back and front yards of their house in Israel. They are packed full of sugar, tanins and pectin which makes them ideal for making jams, confitures, fig butter, fig jelly, compotes and preservs.

All of these are based on the idea of cooking them in sugar and allowing the sugar to naturally preserve them. Some if these ideas make use of sugar and pectin to thicken or gel the substance further (you may already know all of these but just for the sake of posting to everyone's benefit):
- Jam has equal or more sugar than fruit. Fruit is mostly sectioned or crashed.
- Confiture is a jam made primarily with whole fruit
- Fruit butter (or fig butter in this case) is a jam that has more fruit than sugar. It therefore may be a little more tart and slightly more perishable.
- Fruit Jelly (or fig jelly in this case) is a jam where the fruit has been strained so there are no fruit particles in it. Instead, the flavored liquid jells on it own.  (The pectin should be enough, no need for gelatine)
- Compote is a desert of fruit cooked for long time in water and sugar until it is soft but not disintegrated (cook gently, water should not boil as it will cause the fruit to disintegrate).  Often there are other fruits with it and sometimes flavorants such as lemon juice, wine, liquor, spices (such as cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, juniper berries, etc.)
- Preserves of figs - like a compote but with much heavier syrup (I mean, higher sugar contents). You would vacuum jar it (Very easy, no machinery needed, you simply boil the jarring cans and cool them, waiting for the lid to pop). They will store for months, even years (just put them in a cool shaded pantry).

It is also delicious in pies and cakes. It pair phenomenally well with goat's cheeses (especially Crottin or fresh Chèvre) and it a star of many salads. It bakes really well with chicken or roast. For the holiday dinner last year I did fish with figs, Calvados, pecan and pistachio with herbes de provance, it was REALLY good (if I may say so myself).

It also bakes well just on its own, or as you would make baked pears or apples (really nice bakes in port wine with sugar, lemon zest and a sprig of thyme)

In the hot months, I make fig ice cream. I have adopted a recipe by David Labovitz which I find utterly perfect!  Here's the recipe: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/07/fresh-fig-ice-cream-recipe.html

You can also dry the figs. It's one of the best dried fruits out there and if you pack the dried figs well you can use them throughout the off months too.

Also, if you are feeling brave and want to try your hands at making liqueurs, you can look up this incredible fig liquor called Feigling. It's a vodka made of figs. You can also make fig wine: http://www.ehow.com/how_5415520_make-fig-wine.html

I hope I gave you enough ideas for a few years :)
« Last Edit: December 17, 2011, 03:14:14 PM by iratherfly »

Offline Crystal

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Re: Figs..?
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2011, 03:10:59 PM »
Proximity isnt usually a factor in getting rid of figs... My aunt drives an hour every summer to come steal some.

Now, these are 'green' figs i think. They never turn brown or that purple-ish colour... I dont actually really like figs at all which is why i havent done anything except let the kids whack them about and leave the rest on the trees for the birds and bats (which id prefer no to do as the tree is outside the kitchen window. Bats make a terrible mess and are very noisy!)

So, i was thinking i could do something to make them last till i sell/give it all away.

But when should i pick them?
Any recipes youve found for a jam/preserves?
I could dry them in the oven right? Im new to drying so dont have a proper dehydrator...

Cheese Yoda! You have way too much information! LOL...

Hang on and i'll split this post so its not too long and so i dont forget anything!
I saw a great tv thing where they cut them open, dipped them in sugar and bbq'd them then served with marscapone...

No, we dont have fig newtons here... what are they?
I dont know what to put here...
Crystal ;-)


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Offline Crystal

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Re: Figs..?
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2011, 03:23:04 PM »
Alright, ive never made jam or anything like that~ I have read all about it and canning but have a question!

Can i reuse lids or do i have to buy new ones everytime?

Im thinking a conserve would better showcase the actual fruit and know that a lot of Aussies eat it on crackers with brie and cams. Ive tried it with vintage cheddar but you only need such a small amount! I dont want to have 20kg of figs in my pantry so ill pass some off and sell what i can out the front of my house... or in my Etsy shop i guess...

so, a recipe anyone?

Oh, this house was built in the 70's. The fig tree was planted around the same time into a rock wall sorta thing... The father who planted it died in the 90's... his wife and kids still own the house and keep complaining that i dont eat the figs... also the birds/bats have managed to plant 3 more trees up the back so i have tonnnnnnnssssss of bloody figs!

Does anyone think fig and cranberry conserve with walnuts would go with turkey? Im on christmas duty for 30 ppl, so were trying to home make as much as we can! I have to make a sourdough starter today, my old one died when i hurt my sholder and couldnt knead bread everyday, yes, i have to make it everyday cos once the kids tried it they wouldnt eat bought breat anymore. i need a stand mixer!

any other suggestions?
I dont know what to put here...
Crystal ;-)

Offline iratherfly

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Re: Figs..?
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2011, 03:39:14 PM »
Ooooh a fig sourdough starter!

As for the canning and preserves - it will be really nice but it sounds like you have plenty to also do jams and use it in cooking/baking.  I don't think that on their own they go well with cheddar (brie, yes) but there is a cheese shop in the city that has a sandwich of fig chutney with cheddar and that spicy sweet condiment works very well.

You can can it well with cranberries, but do not can it with nuts.  I would brittle the nuts and roast them just before adding the preserves to the dish at cooking time.  In the preserves the nuts will lose their flavor and that crunchy texture. The syrup will render the nuts soft. Nuts are also low acid  and may effect canning. If they lower the acidity of everything around them than they will reverse the preservitive quality of the sugar. If on the other hands they capture acidity from the figs and cranberries, it may render them chalky or even create early rancidity in the nut oils.  They can only be canned together in very heavy thick syrup or honey.

Yes, you can re-use lids, as long as they are in good condition without any rust or visible oxidation.  I actually re-use all those good Bonne Maman jam cans and lids time after time after time. (I am sure you have that brand in Australia too). I don't buy canning jars. I sanitize them religiously before loading them up though. They still pop and give me the vacuum I need (and they are manageable "retail" size that's great for the fridge or pantry).

So which recipes do you need?

Offline Crystal

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Re: Figs..?
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2011, 04:33:39 PM »
Great, ill test with all the lids, if they dont pop down ill just bin it and re-do.
And i know what you mean about size, i dont want jumbo jars of Jam, the kids cross contaminate all the time and id hate to throw out a huge jar!

No nuts in the canning stuff, got it!

We have a fig paste that maggie Beer makes, it goes with cheddar on crackers!

Oh, anything simple for fig jam or preserves would do Yoda, I have no idea, i have an old-ish book that has a few in it but i know nothing really...

Plus, does anyone know when i should pick the figs?? Just grab a stack of the softer ones?

Oh, i also didnt mean i was making starter with the figs, just thinking out loud of two SEPERATE things i was doing today, but if i could do that it would be interesting... Ideas..?

I dont know what to put here...
Crystal ;-)

Offline Crystal

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Re: Figs..?
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2011, 04:42:52 PM »
Heres the big tree:

I dont know what to put here...
Crystal ;-)

Offline iratherfly

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Re: Figs..?
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2011, 04:54:07 PM »
Beautiful! Though they look a bit young still, not ripe yet, aren't they?


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Offline iratherfly

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Re: Figs..?
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2011, 05:17:47 PM »
Oh, I missed this message, you had two in a row...
Great, ill test with all the lids, if they dont pop down ill just bin it and re-do.
And i know what you mean about size, i dont want jumbo jars of Jam, the kids cross contaminate all the time and id hate to throw out a huge jar!

No nuts in the canning stuff, got it!

We have a fig paste that maggie Beer makes, it goes with cheddar on crackers!

Oh, anything simple for fig jam or preserves would do Yoda, I have no idea, i have an old-ish book that has a few in it but i know nothing really...

Plus, does anyone know when i should pick the figs?? Just grab a stack of the softer ones?

Oh, i also didnt mean i was making starter with the figs, just thinking out loud of two SEPERATE things i was doing today, but if i could do that it would be interesting... Ideas..?
I love being Yoda!
No need to bin the stuff. Just re-boil it in a new jar, it will self-sanitize.

Good time to pick figs is when you start seeing them fall off the tree... Pick those that smell sugary and are softer. They should detach from the tree with an easy twist. If you find yourself fighting to get them off the tree they are probably not be ready to leave the nest quite yet :)

for recipes - nothing to it. Figs, lots of sugar and water (start with water and sugar each equaling 2/3rd of the figs in volume and work your way up for taste. You can taper off the sweetness by squeezing a bit of lemon juice to it (but only do it close to the end when you know what your flavor is after reducing and thickening the water).  I personally add a little bit of lemon zest at the end.  (only at the end otherwise their aroma will dissipate).  After it boils cook it on small flame and stir to prevent it from sticking.  If you have a bread machine it can also be used to make jam.  If your jam comes out too runny (you will only find out after it cools down in a refrigerator) you may re-heat it and add sugar or pectin (get pectin usually in the baking isle of your supermarket). If it comes out too hard or thick (again, you will find out after cooling only) than you can heat it up and add water to it.  It should be a lot runnier than a jam consistency when you cook it and it is still hot.

Offline Crystal

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Re: Figs..?
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2011, 05:30:54 PM »
no not yet, so i wont have figs in time for christmas. The weather here has been cold, 20c or less for over 3 weeks now, so nothing is ripening! I rememebr last year we had plenty of figs by now as my aunt took a heap before christmas!

OK, heres one ive found that super easy:

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/22058/easy+fig+jam

Reviews sound good too...

I meant bin the lids... Not the jam!

Hmm, i never notice the falling ones due to kids batting them over the fence, so i guess when i see the kids with a cricket bat they are ready? LOL

Ill give this a go as soon as their ready!

Thanks Yoda...
I dont know what to put here...
Crystal ;-)

Offline Cloversmilker

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Re: Figs..?
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2011, 07:19:03 PM »
Figs are ripe when soft and hanging down from the stem under their own weight.  They don't ripen after being picked, so it is best to harvest continuously as they ripen.  We have a fig tree in our back yard, and have had a total of 3 or 4 ripe figs from it in 20 years.  Just not the right location to ripen in our Oregon climate.  My mother, just 3 miles away, has a fig tree with nice southern exposure and picks buckets most summers. 

Lots of good suggestions.  Yes, the figs cooked in port are excellent.   :)  Fig newtons are a bar cookie with a fig paste filling.  They can be quite good. 

Offline Crystal

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Re: Figs..?
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2011, 09:00:11 PM »
hmm, dunno why they call em 'Newtons'... LOL!

And you guys are obsessed with cookies... lol, we'd call it a 'slice' instead of a bar cookie...

On that note, i just made cookies! I would share but i hardly get any as it is...

Ive looked at a few other things i can do with figs... Not too enticing though.
I dont know what to put here...
Crystal ;-)

Offline Boofer

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Re: Figs..?
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2011, 12:19:47 AM »
Sailor raves about a special treat he makes with figs and Stilton rind. Don't have the particulars, but I'm sure he's around here somewhere to fill you in.

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