August 12, 2010

August Means Figs

If July meant blueberries, then August means figs.  In fact, just about the time our blueberries began to peter out, our figs started to ripen.  And my fig trees are loaded this year.

When we first got here, I uncovered a small stand of fig trees next to the coal barn when I cleared out some brush.  They were heavily shaded, so we cleared out the brush and trimmed back what we could to let in sunlight and air.  Between that and all the rain we had last winter, it looks like we'll have a beautiful crop this year.

Most of them are pretty good size too.  And tasty!

Last year I experimented with ways to preserve them. I tried them canned, dehydrated, and as jam.  Our least favorite was the jam.  Not because it wasn't any good, but because Dan (until I made blueberry jam this year) liked his  strawberry jam better, and I always reach for my wild muscadine jelly.  We loved the canned figs for breakfast fruit, and the dried figs reconstituted beautifully for baked goods.  So canning and dehydrating are it for this year.

I pick every two or three days, and when the chickens see me,

they park themselves as close as they can get.  I toss them the figs the birds have been eating and they love them.

Charlie is curious enough to show up too,

but not enough to come get a taste.  Just an inquisitive sniff from a safe distance.  The goats have already checked them out.  I would have thought they would have really liked them, but besides mouthing them, they haven't been as keen on them as the chickens are.

I started out canning figs by following the directions here.  However, I cannot find a good reason to blanch them in boiling water first, and then in a light syrup before putting them in the jars.  I understand blanching for things like tomatoes and peaches, because it makes them easier to peel. But I'm not peeling the figs.  I also understand it prior to freezing or dehydrating, as blanching destroys enzymes and helps keep the foods' color.  But I'm already boiling the figs in the syrup before processing.  So I've combined the two steps to save time and water. I'll just have to see whether the figs remain as pretty and tasty in March as they do now....

Last year I only got five pints, so I'm pleased to be way ahead of that this year. We can get two breakfasts from one pint, and I plan to can as much as possible.  I'll dehydrate at least one picking too

August Means Figs © August 2010 by Leigh at


  1. Wow, the additional sunlight and love certainly has coaxed those fig trees into production! Good job.
    PS: Your goats might like raisins, mine do, but just as a little treat now and again

  2. They look awfully yummy. Figs are definitely something that won't grow this far north. The care you gave them seems to have payed off in a great harvest.. Word verification was bounty - seems appropriate :)

  3. Your figs look great! I rooted some cuttings from my sister's tree last summer, so hopefully we'll have an abundance of figs in the next few years.

  4. I love figs my grandad has a tree in his yard and my mom makes the figs in a heavy syrup, very sweet and delicious. My favorite sandwich is brie,prosciutto and fig jam (which is purchased) on a toasted french bread. Really awesome stuff. Oh dang, I made myself so hungry with that!

  5. Theresa, I'll have to try raisins! The goats really haven't been interested in any of the "treats" I've offered. I have discovered though that Surprise likes tomatoes and Baby likes watermelon (but not the rind.)

    Nina, very appropriate! Yes, we didn't have fig trees in the Chicago area where I grew up. They do seem to favor southern climes.

    Kari, I truly hope yours do well! I'll be interested in following their progress.

    Bety, ooo, thanks for the idea! That sounds good enough to make another batch of fig jam just to give it a try!

  6. I never knew anyone who grew figs or preserved them! We've always enjoyed dried figs (purchased from our organic co-op) as hiking snacks or treats. What variety are yours? Do you know? We like Black Mission and Calamyrna.

  7. I love figs. If i'm lucky i can find a few fresh ones at the grocery store that look edible, fresh figs don't travel well. I try every now and then to find something really hardy that will grow up here, but never took the plunge to try for sure.
    Someday! :o)

  8. I sure miss having figs. sigh! when we went to Virginia I was so excited to see fig trees there, but apparently they weren't as impressive to my daughter. LOL she does like figs, just doesn't care where they come from.

  9. I've never had figs...they look good though.

  10. Annie, thanks!

    Mama Pea, I have no idea as to the variety. I got a book from the library last year, and thought the description fitted either Celeste or Magnolia, two backyard varieties for the south.

    Icebear, figs don't keep well so I'm sure it's difficult to find fresh ones at the grocery store. Plus they only ripen on the tree, not after picking. Do plan to plant one soon!

    Renee, how could Darly like figs but not where they come from!?!?!

    Sara, they are sweet, but I have to admit that ours are a big bland. No zing. They are excellent canned and dried however.

  11. Fresh figs! mmmmm Have you tried fig chutney?

  12. lucky you having figs yum yum! My favourite way of cooking them is to bake them. Pour a little honey over them sprinkle with cinnamon and bake till they are ready.

  13. I hope we are soon going to get a picture of your larder, full of all these delicious preserves. The shelves must be groaning already.

  14. Evelyn, no, what a great idea!

    Oh Helen, that sounds so good. Thank you so much for the idea. We like fig cake, but I definitely need some other ideas for fig treats. Yours is a "must try"

    Cally, definitely. LOL. Fortunately we did some rearranging to create a goodly pantry space. Photos will have to be upcoming.

  15. Those are pretty. I've never had a fig. I never known how to eat them before. I think I'll get some and try them out.

  16. My mom loves figs but I never got hit by that bug. They are very pretty canned though.


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