Saturday, July 23, 2011

No Fig Preserves This Year

As early as last fall  I set a goal to preserve some figs that would pop out mid July of this year. I had done this several years ago, but I feared I failed to boil properly and  kept the jars  in the fridge. A quick canning course at Viking gave me the confidence to try this year. In late June I put up some strawberry preserves and blueberry jam. The previous preserves probably will have to be attacked with a surgical steel knife, as I "think" I cooked them on the stove a tad too long. I was pleased with the results. Then I tried some pickled onions,  using the purple onions as stated in my guide. I believe they cooked  too long, also, but I have a few jars I'll taste later. All this while I waited for the figs to burst onto the scene.

July 4 brought a few surprises, but they were small. The heat had been relentless and I feared the little rain would produce undersized fruit. However, I gathered a few each morning that disappeared before I could serve breakfast. July 8 I came down with what I thought was intestinal flu (later diagnosed as a chronic attack of IBS) and in my bed, through my fever-laden body that refused to move I had to weakly hark to R."Pick the figs, please." Think of a little old lady trying to get the salesman's attention and and you'll  know how I sounded. Since R didn't care for figs, he didn't rush out in early morning to beat the birds. However, I keep repeating the mantra and he was forced to please me at least once. My illness lasted during fig season. Too late to do anything but plan to go to the farmers' market and buy their preserves put up by a gentleman 25 miles away.

Our fig tree was  planted about 30  years ago in a sheltered  spot in the back  corner of our yard clear of trees. We failed to take into account the surrounded bushes would be trees in a few years competing for the sun with our fig tree. Yep, that's what happened. The limbs have reached into the yard seeking the sun now for several  years, Some  limbs are tied to the ground from  lying so  low over time. R threatens to cut it down, but I convinced him that was the 8th sin.. Too late to set out another tree--the perils of aging.