The leaves are now turning yellow on the fig tree that dominates our garden in Bristol. We have a fig tree in Greece too at the Greek Hovel and it was yielding fruit in the summer that was ripe and wonderful. The UK offering has been a little bit less ripe but I was determined not to get it go to waste and so as a family treat we harvested some of the figs and …hey presto we have a perfect fig chutney.
Three smaller pots have already been handed out as presents and the Mrs and I are working our way through a large pot at home. I reckon it might just last until Christmas.
My only regret is that I did not start this earlier and make more chutney on an industrial scale. The figs start dropping in early September and a good number now lie squashed on the paving. As the leaves fall from the tree I can see another batch of fruit that was hitherto hidden and looks pretty perfect for use.
As ever I shall resolve to be more organised next year and make twice as much. Sadly, with such small volumes produced this year, this product is not available at Real Man Pizza Company although it would be fantastic with our Yarg led cheese board. Maybe in 2015.
When I was kid, autumn was a time for boiling and preserving on an industrial scale. The aspiration of my parents – mainly my mother – was to be as close to self-sufficient as possible. We did not grow wheat so had to buy flour as well as milk, sugar, coffee and meat and corn for the ducks, geese and chickens. But our fields were converted into an extensive garden, we had our own fruit (rhubarb, gooseberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, raspberries and strawberries) and the hedgerows yielded even more.
All fruit was preserved in jars or made into jam. Chutneys were prepared. Vegetables were pickled or storied in sand for we had no freezer. September to November was time for working on often bitterly cold days – or so I remember it – bringing in the harvest and then preserving it ahead of the winter.
My own efforts are trivial in comparison. But, I hope, that it is a start of the journey back.