I was waiting at the Station Medical Centre on Monday, and always on the look out for local food, I spied a decent sized fig tree that was laden with fruit. It was a grand tree, and quite possibly I was the only person around that actually knew what it was, and what delights that could be made from the humble fig.
I remembered a conversation that I had a few months back with my GP and I asked if anyone had claims to the fruit that was growing around the surgery. He told me to help myself, so never one to pass up an opportunity for a good scrump, I grabbed a bag out of the boot of the car and proceed to pick as many figs as I could.
The birds were having a right go of the higher up fruit, but thankfully most of the figs that were within my reach were unharmed. I picked about 1.5 kilograms and put the bag back into the car. Kim could see me from inside the clinic and thought I was up to something naughty. Even Ben went inside to tell on me! Kim, who was too honest for her own good, just confirmed with her GP if it was okay if I could help myself to the figs. He also confirmed that it was alright to lighten the trees burden! That gives me a bit two GP thumbs up for scrumping!
When I got home, I washed the figs in cold water to remove anything the birds may have left behind, and then put about a kilo into a big bowl and poured boiling water over them. This was to soften them up and to make them easier to peel for the jam making. Here is the recipe that I invented for my bread-maker. It reminds me of the fig jam that my mum made when I was growing up on the dairy farm.
makes 6 cups
800gm peeled figs
500gm white sugar
2 tablespoons Jamsetta
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Place all ingredients into the bread-maker and select the JAM setting, press start and wait until it finishes.
Sterilise jars, and pour hot jam into them. Seal with pop-button lids and button will pop down as jam cools indicating a vacuum and proper seal.
This jam is wonderful on scones with cream, and nice served with a cheese platter. You can just taste the hint of ginger that really complements the figs.
It is so good that Kim has already managed to sell a jar for $5 to her friend! I was impressed with her entrepreneurial skills. Well done love, but this stuff is like gold, so lets keep the rest for us please. I think I will give a jar to our Doctors as a big thank you for the figs. I bet it won't last very long!
I will continue to be on the lookout for neglected fruit trees that need my special kind of TLC.