Our Desert King fig tree. Great shade, huge tropical looking leaves.
Silly me-when will I learn to look up? SO often I miss blossoms, bird nests and fruit because I just insist, for some reason unbeknowest to me, to look upwards or I look up but not all the way UP!
Example at hand: I knew we had ripe figs; a handful of them at the most--maybe 1/2 dozen? All within fairly easy reach.
Enter my best friend---you know the one who has learned to look up in the garden (she also sees the slithery ones which I miss). All of a sudden, because she looked UP, what was a manageable harvest has turned a little less manageable and my time table has changed too. You see instead of 1/2 dozen figs, now I will have 5 or 6 LARGE bowls of ripe figs. Ripe enough for our birds to be feasting on them right now. Ripe enough that if I don't do something within the next 2 days we will have a sticky, sweet, gooey mess on our hands---and the bees are out too.
So what is this girl to do? Well the good news is that I have a freezer (although there is not much room left in it), a supply of freezer bags and ... directions for freezing figs. Thank goodness for the Internet.
The first bowl. They are soft and some seemed very soft. I washed them, sliced them in half--well most of the time--and then scooped out the insides and put them plus sugar and ascorbic acid in a bowl and then after mixing this mixture, into a freezer bag leaving some headspace. My advice to you who might want to freeze figs is heed the advice of the 'fig experts' on the link that follows.
Did I say that in another month we will have even more ripe figs? A LOT of them. Family and friends...I know a source where you can get absolutely 100% totally FREE, spray-free, ripe, sweet figs! (They are right across the yard from the absolutely 100% totally FREE, spray-fee, ripe, sweet plums).
Michigan Extension: http://web1.msue.msu.edu/imp/mod01/01600465.html
Figs & health: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_fig#Figs_and_health
Note: For those with lactose intolerance, like me, you might be interested that figs are a good source of calcium. I just learned that from a free magazine I picked up when grocery shopping this week. The link above tells a little about the benefits of figs, With our more then bountiful crop, I am going to try to incorporate them into some baked goods.
Comments/FYI: Well the first bowl of figs have been processed and are currently laying in the frozen environment of my freezer. Learned several things from this--my first adventure attempting to preserve figs.
First and most important, having a Farmer Boy for a DH is an invaluable resource -- really he is better then an encylopedia or gardening book.
Second, if the stem is exuding a milky white liquid, the fig is not ripe. Unfortunately, that info came too late--there was one in the batch and since I didn't know better, it was processed with the others. I am SO hoping the sugar/honey I used will help all be OK.
Third, the skin of the figs was very fragile and in places no longer intact. The figs are really soft too. I did not like the slight odor from the figs but - and this is kind of wierd my skin seemed to like it. Hum, interesting.
Last, as usual, I changed the directions given and just used a spoon to scoop out the reddish pulp/seed interior and then mixed this with the sugar as called for in the link above. I also used some ascorbic acid as per directions on the bottle but remember I am NOT an expert and only time (and a little defrosting and then baking) will tell whether this first fig experiment was a success.
Anyone have a good recipe for a fig cookie, cake or quick bread?