Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Merryn's Menu: Home Made Dried Figs

Merryn's Menu: Home Made Dried Figs: Dried Figs Saving Summers' Fig Harvest for use all year long. This morning, I walked around the garden as I always do on a sunny ...

Home Made Dried Figs

Dried Figs

Saving Summers' Fig Harvest for use all year long.


This morning, I walked around the garden as I always do on a sunny morning before leaving for work.
I felt compelled to walk to the most northern point of our backyard

when

I heard a little splash and saw a brown striped frog frolicking in a plastic crate that was half full of water. 


I wasn't sure if the frog could climb out or not, as when tadpoles turn into frogs they have to 
be able to climb ashore or they will drown.  Taking a wooden garden stake I propped it 
into one corner of the crate so the little frog could climb up on it to escape to firm ground. 
It is a good feeling knowing you have helped a smaller and vulnerable species survive today.




Talking about survival, I love figs and wish they would stay on the tree for the whole year.
As they do not, I decided to preserve some by dehydrating them.


I finally have the drying procedure worked out perfectly.




Firstly you cut off the small end stem.
Slice the figs in half horizontally or if they are
extra large, slice them into 1/3's or even 1/4's.

Make up a solution of 1 tablespoon Ascorbic acid to every 1 litre of water.
Ascorbic acid is basically Vitamin C so get some chewable Vitamin C tablets and crush up 4 tablets.
Stir this solution, just use cold water, don't heat it.
Soak the fig slices in this solution for 10 - 15 minutes as soon as they are cut.
Then, drain them in a colander for 10 minutes to remove any excess liquid.
(Note, the ascorbic acid solution keeps the bright fig's natural colour when they are dried)



Place them on the drying racks, making sure they do not touch each other.











  Place the lid on, lock into position and turn to the highest speed.

These figs will take between 20 - 24 hours to totally dry.




 Take the lid off and turn after approx 10 hours.


Look at these gorgeous figs.
Their sweet aroma fills the house.



These were touch dry after 20 hours.




Let them cool, then vacuum seal for long storage.



Figs preserved this way will keep 
In the Pantry   3 - 12 months
In the Fridge        1 - 2 years
In the Freezer       Indefinitely

To use, you can re hydrate them in water or juice overnight, ensure there is enough liquid to cover the figs.
Or you can simmer them in water or juice.
For biscuits and desserts, chop the dried figs as they are before adding them to the recipe.
Dried figs can also be eaten and enjoyed straight from the packet.

Buon appetitio, enjoy, Merryn