It’s that time of summer again. The figs are “hangin’ in tags,” as the old saying goes where I come from. That means there’s a “bumper crop,” or there are a lot of figs on that tree this year. Both of my mamaws had fig trees in their back yards. They are still there to this day. Mama and Daddy have a tree that came from a shoot from Mamaw Holley’s tree. The fig season doesn’t last all summer for the kind of figs we have, so we have to make use of the few weeks we have to work with.
There are others in the world who love these figs at least as much we do. Creatures that we have to fight some times. These creatures have beady little eyes they stare at us with, and mouths with appetites for figs that rival our own. Birds. Just birds. But they can do so much damage in such a short time, and have such an attitude toward us when we go out to pick our figs that they want so badly. There are a few short term solutions we alternate to frighten the birds away. The green garden hose works for a while. We just lay it in the tree from branch to branch to look a little like a snake. Then there’s the inflatable owl that we hang in the tree. The birds are afraid of that predator until they notice it’s not moving. Of course, we use a rubber snake, too. None of these work for the whole season, so they have to be alternated. It does help keep them away for the most part. The figs in the top of the tree are hard to get, so we don’t really mind if they get those. We’re willing to share those, so I don’t know what their problem is.
Mama and Daddy get a half gallon every day from their tree. I offered to preserve the figs for the family this year, so I have about four gallons of figs right now that Daddy picked and saved. Since I don’t personally have a fig tree, I get all excited when their tree bears. I love canning anything. Tomato Relish, Jelly and Syrup from fruit of the land, Fig Preserves, and the list goes on. Last night I was up late actually enjoying cutting the stem ends off the figs, dropping them into the pot, and pouring the sugar over them by layers. As I got about a gallon of figs in a layer into the pot, I poured about a cup – a cup and a half of sugar over them. I did this about four times, put the lid on the pot, and set the pot on the table for overnight. The sugar draws the juice out of the figs, and when they are cooked down slowly, they have plenty of syrup to cover them. I have a recipe, but I don’t go strictly by it. I process fig preserves the way Mamaw showed me how she did it when I was a young girl, and how my Mama does hers.
I can just taste those preserves now on fresh hot biscuits. I think if I have them ready by supper time, we may just have scrambled eggs, bacon, and biscuits with fig preserves. That just sounds so good to me, and we love having breakfast for supper some times. The weather is supposed to be rainy tonight, so that would be a cozy supper, I think.
Have a great weekend and be very blessed, my friends.