Figs are abundant this season, but not all figs are created equally.
Some areas have seen quite a bit of rain while others have been bone dry.
Naomi Coleman said she got too little rain before the figs popping out, and now with the sporadic rains, she is afraid her figs will spoil. Rain at the right time is great for figs, but after they start to ripen, rain is not the fruit’s friend.
Last Saturday, Coleman was in her fig orchard until after 7 p.m. trying to get her figs picked before the daily rain started. Besides picking the figs, she already had managed to can some of them.
“You know I don’t use a recipe for fig preserves,” she said. “I just put in my usual ingredients, but I tasted these and they sure are sweet, maybe a little too much so.”
Lynette Faul’s fig trees are full.
“I have so many figs on my trees that I will be picking them until the end of the month,” she said.
Like Coleman, Faul also has turned some of her figs into preserves.
“I added raisins to the fig preserves this year,” said Faul, who followed the fig jam recipe in “Ball Blue Book” but added her own touch with the raisin addition. She promised to send me the amounts she uses. I will pass along to you readers.
Pattie Necaise of Ocean Springs makes a fig conserve that also contains raisins, along with fruit peels.
“Here’s an unusual recipe for figs,” Necaise said. “I thought you might like to share it.”
Laurie Kisslinger has put figs to use in an awesome entrée.
“I recently posted a note on Facebook re: my neighbor having a crazy amount of figs! I’d love to share a recipe I came up with, if you’re interested,” she said. “I used lots of her fresh figs. My pork chops and applesauce, which I had in my pantry. I found it when I did an online search to use figs in a dinner recipe, rather than a dessert or preserves.
“I changed the recipe in several ways, so here’s my version,” she said.
“The original online recipe called for 3 chops, 10 figs, 1 cup of applesauce, same cook time,” Kisslinger said. “I used lots more figs, since Helen had so many and since I had eight pork chops. I shared the finished product with Helen and Herman, and was told, ‘You have a winner!’ I agree, it’s a great dish!”
Almond bread, sort of
“This is my recipe for almond pound cake, which is really more of a dense bread,” said Marianne Moyer of Bradenton. “I make it for my friend who is on a low-carb diet. Thank you for your column. I get a lot of good ideas from it.”
Dave Charles previously asked for a recipe for almond bread. He can try this and let us know what he thinks.
If other readers have almond bread recipes, please send them to me to share with Charles and fellow readers.
Back to classes
Where has the summer gone? School resumes in two to three weeks. That means back to the hectic schedules and youngsters not eating cafeteria food, or at least mine never did. I always tried to pack my daughter a lunch she might actually eat. Sometimes I was successful and other times not.
Readers, do you pack school lunches or brown bag lunches for work? If so, share your ideas with fellow readers. All of us could use some fresh approaches.
Andrea Yeager can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or Cook’s Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi MS 39535-4567.
From ‘Ball Blue Book’
5 pounds figs
6 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
To prepare figs: Completely cover figs with boiling water. Let stand 10 minutes. Drain, stem and chop figs. Measure 2 quarts chopped figs.
To prepare jam: Combine figs, sugar and water in a large saucepot. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cook rapidly to gelling point. As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking. Add lemon juice and cook 1 minute longer. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 15 minutes in a boiling water canner.
Yield: About 5 pints.
Submitted by Pattie Necaise
1 quart ripe figs
1 medium orange (peel and pulp)
1 medium lemon (peel and pulp)
1/2 box seedless raisins (about 1 cup; use regular or golden raisins)
3 to 3-1/2 cups sugar (riper figs are sweeter so you may want to use the lesser amount of sugar)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Wash the figs and remove the stems. Trim off the white pith from the orange and lemon peel. Grind the figs and peel in a food processor. Make sure the peel is ground to small pieces. I chop the raisins a bit so they are not large pieces. Remove the seeds and any of the hard membrane from the orange and lemon pulp. Mix in a large pot all but the pecans. Heat till it bubbles. Cook stirring occasionally and regulating the heat so that is will not scorch. Cook for 50 minutes. Add the chopped pecans and cook an additional 10 minutes. Fill sterilized jars as you would any jam or jelly. Refrigerate after opening. (This is really yummy on a peanut butter sandwich.)
Pork chops with fresh figs
Submitted by Laurie Kisslinger
8 bone-in pork chops (seasoned with garlic powder, onion powder and garlic pepper combo)
40 fresh figs, cut in halves
3 cups (24 ounces) applesauce
4 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
2 cups beef broth
2 cloves chopped garlic
Into the measured broth, add mustard and garlic; whisk till blended (mustard may not completely blend)
Cut figs in half, leaving skin on.
Brown pork chops, remove. When finished browning, use some of the measured liquid to scrape what's left behind in the pan, then add it back to the liquid.
Never waste those great flavors, right?
In slow cooker, layer 4 browned chops, spread some applesauce and figs, to cover, pour 1/2 of remaining liquid.
Layer remaining 4 chops, applesauce and figs. Pour remaining liquid along the sides and finish off on top.
Slow cooker should be on low setting, 8 hours.
When cooking ends, remove the chops. Using a slotted spoon, remove the cooked down figs and put them in a blender, smoothing into a sauce. Add stock from the cooked chops, to thin the sauce, while blending, until it's a consistency you like. All the applesauce goodness is still in the remaining liquid, so adding it to the blender will enhance the flavors of the sauce.
Almond Pound Cake
Submitted by Marianne Moyer
1 stick unsalted butter
4 ounces softened cream cheese
3/4 cup Splenda or Equal sweetener
5 whole eggs
2 cups ground almonds or almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon lemon or almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square or loaf pan very well.
Cream butter, cream cheese and sweetener. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. In a separate bowl, mix flour and baking powder. Add gradually to butter mix, beating well after each addition. Beat in extracts. Pour into greased pan. Bake 45-50 minutes. Check after 30 minutes; cake is done when toothpick comes out clean. –