Saturday, August 7

Summer Figs Bring Jams, Leather, and Holiday Treats

ummer Figs Bring Jams, Leather, and Holiday Treats
There is nothing more delicious than a fresh fig, kissed by the sun. And, my neighbor has always been very generous with hers.
But, hers are on a young fig bush, producing more than enough for us to make some jam and enjoy fresh figs for a few weeks; but, there's not alot left after the first harvest for all the holiday goodies we like to make.

So, clever girl that I am, when I made my infamous Fig-Raspberry Jam last year, I shared a jar with my hairdresser who just happens to have a serious, major, fig TREE at her shop.  Wanting more jam, she

immediately gave me total access to any harvesting I might want to do -- forever! (Yes, the jam is that good.) This year, my daughter decided she wanted to make her own Fig-Raspberry Jam, just in case my estate should, well, mature, and she couldn't locate the recipe.  Having done my harvesting at the first ripening, I invited my daughter to come help herself.  When told this was a big tree, she thought I was exaggerating. (That chain link fence is a six-footer.)  See that little bush to the right, between the fig tree and a young poplar? There's a head-high 'cave' that you can enter for fig-picking out of the hot sun -- our first choice.

OMG! Something had totally changed since my second harvest!  Thanks to Mother Nature, the news was out. The floor of our shady 'cave' was wall-to-wall drunken bees, hornets, and June bugs! (Shouldn't they be August bugs?) Even some of the figs on the upper branches were fair game to the hungry June bugs. See! Follow the arrows. (Definitely time to rethink my role as nurturing mother.) I told number one daughter that I had more than enough figs for my own use but I would be delighted to hold her basket at a safe distance whilst she plucked fresh figs to her heart's content. Taking after a father who would tie string to the legs of June bugs, she thought they were FUN!   No matter, there are other things we disagree on, as well.
Here's a jar of my Fig-Raspberry Jam... in case you didn't know, all my kitchen products go under the "Granny Grumbles" name. Imagine fresh bread, hot from the solar oven, a layer of fresh creamery butter, and topped by another layer of Granny Grumbles' Fig-Raspberry Jam -- well, you can't -- because, if you did, you would be more than happy to meet your Maker after the last morsel has been consumed. Truth is truth.

Fresh figs do not keep long and with more than four quarts of fig sauce left, I needed to do something. Fruit leather was the answer and, before long, I had my harvest preserved for snacking and holiday recipes.

I used parchment paper under the leather in the dehydrator and decided to keep some rolls wrapped in the paper and others without, just to compare how they do over the long run.  Notice the white thingy at the bottom of the jar? That's one of those keep-fresh packets that absorb moisture. It keeps the leather dry but pliant and my dried foods last much longer. Whenever I find one in my purchases, I keep it to recycle. Notice the pretty paper? That's how my Garden Witchery gift book came wrapped. I simply couldn't throw it away, and you will probably see it, again. Thank you, Joyce.

What are you going to preserve, this summer?

HOT TIP! - Don't look for the Sunday Toast, tomorrow.  I have decided that my toasting will be a monthly feature. One good toast should carry you wonderful followers and commentors, I think, without turning what was a great idea into a stressful job. My blog is meant to focus on solar cooking and recipes, and I wanted my friend's special glass to announce the feature.  I know you'll understand.  But, just to let you down easy:  "May you always have friends who follow you in sunshine and never know friends who desert you on a cloudy day."

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