When I left the corporate world and packed up my skirts and shirts, I had visions of cultivating a backyard orchard while growing seasonal vegetables in raised beds. Together, with my children, we would harvest the yield and then I would prepare farm fresh fare for our family dinners while we talked about our love for each other. And, I would preserve the remainder of our yield into succulent jams and pickled foods. I would be Diane Keaton, the tiger lady, in Baby Boom who escapes to the Vermont farmhouse and invents the Country Baby brand applesauce from her own harvest and then the Food King buys her out and she’s forever rich in life and love.
Turns out, I am not a farmer. I cannot grow anything, shy of the irrepressible rosemary mostly because growing something requires tending and my tendency is to forget to tend and funny story, things die after that. But, I can prepare the farm fresh fare and thanks to my CSA, the endless farmers markets in LA that pop up like Starbucks, and friends like Vivian who bring me their fallen fruit, I get my bounty.
Vivian gave me more fabulous figs from her mother’s fig tree and this time, it was time to preserve, because we love our fig jam and goat cheese in this house. But, I was not about spend hours sterilizing jars to ensure a bacteria doesn’t fester; that’s too much pressure and remember I’m the one who forgets to water tomatoes.
Refrigerator preserves are more my speed. I was inspired by a few online sources, including Cooking Light and then crafted this quick concoction.
fig & ginger preserves
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes (without tending)
4 c chopped brown figs
3 T chopped crystallized ginger (spice section, or optional)
1 1/4 c sugar (can be mixture of Splenda)
1/3 c water
1 t chopped rosemary
1 vanilla bean
Add all ingredients into a sturdy pot and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Let the preserve mixture cool before pouring into glass jars or air-tight containers. I prefer glass containers to prevent your foods from picking up any tastes from plastics.
Note: The preserves will be chunky and gooey, but if you prefer a smoother consistency, I recommend that you blend the preserves with an immersion stick.
recipe adapted from Cooking Light from your friends at crunchtimefood.com