Living in the Willamette Valley is a food lover’s paradise. We have just about everything but tropical plants here, so lots to enjoy. Each summer’s harvests seem to start with strawberries and then on to other fruits before the veggies start producing. So I’ve been dehydrating yummies since the end of May all for your potential future enjoyment.
Strawberriesfrom this year’s crop. Sweet and yummy.
Bananasfrom the grocery store…they LOOKED too far gone by the outer peel but were about 98% usable to dry. So remember that when next time you see “old” bananas marked down!
Figsfrom last season soft and chewy.
Cherries Most are sweet but one or two pie cherries might have snuck in.
Concord grape fruit leather– okay, I’ll come clean…. I tried to make fruit roll-ups but they didn’t turn out to be rollable…so they were cut into pieces.
Pearsfrom the start of this year’s harvest.
Applesdehydrated last fall.
Cantaloupe is pure candy. Unbelievable how this experience convinced me!
Raisinsfrom last fall’s Thompson grapes.
Raspberry fruit leatherfrom this season that also was a fail as a fruit leather but provides that zingy sweetness perfectly.
So we went to pick figs last Sunday and came home with about 20 pounds and plans to return for more. These are green figs, maybe Spanish King and we picked the ones that were slightly to mostly squishy, letting the rest ripen a bit more.
The choices for processing are endless but right now we have narrowed it down to three ways. We will dehydrate for snacking, make a fig paste for eating with cheese or baking into fig newtons, and try to replicate an amazing fig orange marmalade I tasted at the Fancy Food Show.
Yesterday we started cooking the figs down into a paste and since it was taking FOREVER, we stopped after four hours and refrigerated it. Today we continued and a couple of hours later were able to can it.
I brought a pint home and prepared the dough which needed to chill in the frig for about four hours. This gave the fig paste a chance to cool itself.
So, after supper this evening, I tackled one of the fig newton recipes I pulled from the internet.
I am not a superb baker, but boy oh boy, if you like figs, you need to stop at out table at the farmers’ market this Thursday to taste and to buy!
My introduction to figs was Fig Newtons and boy oh boy I could eat a package by myself. Love them. I was introduced to fresh figs the summer of 1972 when walking across a field in Israel with one of my cousins. We came upon a large tree and he said , “I don’t know the name in English but it is very good to eat.” It reminded me of something but I could not place it. After all, dried/fresh tastes differ slightly and it was not wrapped in a cookie. We got back to his house, pulled out the Hebrew-English dictionary and my gastronomic education had been enhanced.
Here in Oregon we have a lot of figs and I have been trying for several years to get some. This year I have connected with three different people who have fig trees and it appears that the first is ready to be gathered this weekend. I am so excited!!!
So I have two ideas of what I would like to do with them…..I tasted an amazing fig-orange preserves at the Fancy Food Show in January and hope to replicate that. I also would like to prepare a fig paste that people can use many ways, and with a recipe I will provide, bake their own version of fig newtons.
I wondered if any of you have made any fig preserves of any kind and had a recipe to recommend. I’m also interested in savory recipes, as I will dry a bunch and hope to develop a dehydrated recipe for the 2017 season.