August is the season for figs in Vancouver. I know this because on a bi-daily basis, my neighbour comes over with a huge bowl of figs for me to turn into something delicious. He has 5 trees that bare 2 kinds of figs of which I don’t know the name, but each one has green skin, one variety is large with sweet, mild white flesh that turns golden as it gets really ripe, and a smaller variety that has red flesh and is a bit tangier.
Two years ago I used the white-fleshed figs when they were really ripe to make fig ginger jam. I skinned every fig and just used the flesh for this jam with lots of texture from the seeds and chunks of candied ginger. It turned out so well that I saved and savoured the jars knowing they would have to last. One sad, sad day my last two jars hit the tile floor on the laundry room and smashed in a glassy figgy mess. As I was contemplating licking it off the floor (and picking the glass off my tongue from the splatter that hit my leg), I decided I better make some more to avoid this sort of desperate craziness.
In 2009, I used both kinds of figs together to make jam, again making Fig Ginger Jam , but this time I left on the skins. This changed the colour and texture of the jam as I needed to pulse the jam with an immersion blender to chop up the skins this time making it thicker. And because I had added the candied ginger in the jam before blending, there were no yummy candied ginger chunks. The colour was not nearly as nice as the 2008 jam (which was a rich, shiny, golden colour) but it tasted just as good.
I made a second Jam in 2009 as well, Fig, Brandy and Honey Mandarine. This had a lot more citrus and some richness from the brandy both of which went very well with the figs.
Then came August 2010:
I don’t know if it is a love for figs, the daily harvest delivery from my neighbour, or the squirrel in me but I made 7 recipes from the figs this year:
- The Original Fig Ginger Jam
- Fig Sesame Jam
- Italian Balsamic Caramelized Figs
- Fig Balsamic Vinegar
- Amaretto Figs (recipe to come)
- Caramelized Fig Torte
- Fig Ice Cream (recipe to come)
Oh, and I froze some halved figs too. Whew. I actually went out yesterday to see if the trees had any more ripe figs (um, crazy) and thankfully, that’s it for the year. I can put this figgy month to bed enjoying a pantry full of riches, of the fig persuasion.