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Summer’s Bounty

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That’s what I’ve been doing today, picking figs off the tree by my father’s barn. I spent an hour there, sweating like the dickens, but I brought those beauties home. There must be 15 or 20 pounds of them, just from today’s harvest (see below for a view from my counter; notice how deep that box is). And there will be just as many tomorrow from that tree, and the day after that, and the day after that. It is a glorious tree. Think of the preserves and the chutneys! I know this is the second fig post this week, but boy, do they make me joyful. The smell of figs ripening on a tree is the smell of home to me. When I was very small, before I started kindergarten, my sister and I would stay with our grandmother while our mom worked. We would go with her into her backyard during fig season and help her pick them. She gathered them in a colander, or sometimes in her apron, and then went inside to cook them. The smell of the figs on the tree, and in Mullay’s kitchen, makes me think the world is as kindly and as tender as Mullay was.

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16 Comments (Open | Close)

16 Comments To "Summer’s Bounty"

#1 Comment By alcogito On July 25, 2013 @ 4:39 pm

Unload those figs into shallower boxes or you will have jam at the bottom without any effort on your part. πŸ˜‰

What are you going to do with them?

[NFR: Julie has been making preserves, as well as chutney. She saved the syrup from the citrus fig preserves she did so I can use it in making bourbon cocktails. The taste of figs and citrus paired with bourbon will be quite nice in winter. — RD]

#2 Comment By DS On July 25, 2013 @ 5:14 pm

Mmmm . . . Follow-Me-Boy Water.

#3 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 25, 2013 @ 5:38 pm

Yes, these look good. And I thought figs came from Greece.

#4 Comment By RB On July 25, 2013 @ 6:15 pm

Oh, glorious. I haven’t seen fresh figs since I lived in the Bay Area. Do they freeze well?

[NFR: I don’t know. We usually process them into preserves, brandied figs, and chutney. — RD]

#5 Comment By Ethan C. On July 25, 2013 @ 6:43 pm

Wow, that looks like a ton of preserves and chutney. Have you thought of selling it?

[NFR: Nope. What we don’t eat we’ll give away as Christmas presents. — RD]

#6 Comment By cecelia On July 25, 2013 @ 7:04 pm

lucky you – fig trees need major protection to survive here in the northeast – I killed one already – but am going to try again. Had a neighbor – an Italian immigrant – when I was a child – he had this huge fig tree – we’d feast on figs – the juice running down our face and necks – all summer. In the winter he would make this edifice – straw compost and rolls of roofing material – to keep the tree alive during the winter.
I want me some hand picked figs soooooo bad – the supermarket stuff doesn’t even remotely compare.

#7 Comment By KjB On July 25, 2013 @ 9:34 pm

Cecelia – That winter edifice sounds just like what my husband’s Italian grandmother did (or should I say, had her sons and grandsons) do to her fig tree every year. They lived in New Brunswick, NJ.
We live in Virginia (greater DC area) and have two large fig bushes in our yard. We’ve never had to cover or baby them and they do just fine. We’ll eat the figs fresh, as will the squirrels, chipmunks, foxes, groundhog, and deer that come through our yard. I’ll have to look for preserves and chutney recipes online, as well as instructions for how to keep the syrup for our own bourbon cocktails. πŸ™‚

#8 Comment By surly On July 25, 2013 @ 10:28 pm

I planted a fig tree and it seems very determined to pump out figs. Last year I dutifully picked off the tiny babies so that the tree could get established. This year it put on so many I just threw up my hands and decided that the tree knew best. It is kind of the opposite of the fig tree in the New Testament. I have the teen mom of fig trees.

My problem is I haven’t the faintest clue what a ripe Latteralla fig looks like. They are getting really big and soft but still bright green. How do you know when a fig is ripe?

#9 Comment By Chris 1 On July 26, 2013 @ 12:29 am

If you need an address for shipping….

We’re about three weeks away from a good hot spell to set our friend’s figs…a tree that’s been at that house for more than 100 years. They remodeled the house, but to the tree they’re visitors.

#10 Comment By Paleontologie On July 26, 2013 @ 3:02 am

As kids we used to freeze the smaller, sweeter ones overnight and eat them the next day. Much better than Starburst or Now & Later, although we took them for granted and probably didn’t realize it at the time!

#11 Comment By EVW On July 26, 2013 @ 9:37 am

Fresh figs, filled with goat cheese, wrapped in prosciutto is our go-to summer dinner. Our season in Astoria just ended but we are assured by Those Who Know that that means another round in late summer.

#12 Comment By RB On July 26, 2013 @ 10:53 am

I am sorely tempted to plant a fig tree now. Surly, what kind of tree do you have, and what zone do you live in? I’d love some Teen Mom figs!

I talked to someone who has a fig tree here; my area has a Mediterranean climate 9 months of the year. She says she winters hers over by digging out one side of the roots, and carefully bending the tree down and just buries the whole thing until spring, when she unearths it again.

I adore figs, but that’s, like, extreme gardening. I don’t know if I have the personal bandwidth for it, at least till more of my kids are potty-trained.

#13 Comment By Prof. Woland On July 26, 2013 @ 12:41 pm

Figs like southern climes, correct?

Damn it. Just have to wait another 80 years for climate change to bring Climate zone 7 up to Wisconsin before we plant them here.. (which is sad, because I really like figs..).

#14 Comment By Hawk On July 26, 2013 @ 1:23 pm

Russian Ρ‡Π°ΠΉ? I am intrigued…

[NFR: Mariage Freres, the French tea purveyor, has a line featuring signature tea blends from various regions. I bought the Russian version on a previous visit to Paris. I love all their teas, but I’ve developed an allergy to strong black tea. Must be all the tannin. This means, sadly, that I never get to drink the Russian stuff, delicious though it is. — RD]

#15 Comment By alcogito On July 26, 2013 @ 1:58 pm

I think Latterula is supposed to stay green. Look here

By the way, figs grow well in the maritime climate of the Pacific NW, especially if you grow it on the south side of the house. (I checked it out with Angelo Pelligrini’s The Food Lover’s Garden. Dr. Pelligrini grew Everything on a city lot in Seattle.)

We seldom get down to 10 degrees, but if it does, you can protect it, or if you grow it in a tub, trundle it into the garage. I don’t have one now, but you have tempted me Rod. Good source at that link.

#16 Comment By RB On July 26, 2013 @ 3:12 pm

Hey, Rod, speaking of gardening, how’s that garden you were growing with the other folks from your church?

[NFR: Dunno. I was never part of it — I hate gardening, but I love to cook with fresh vegetables and fruits. Julie was part of it at the start, but it was too hard to stay on top of, inasmuch as it’s at the church, which is six miles away. I know the pastor’s family kept it up, but I haven’t looked in on the garden all summer. — RD]