My husband and I were raised by a generation that admonished us to eat everything on our plate and never let food go to waste. We somewhat reluctantly shelled peas, cut beans, picked gooseberries and pulled endless weeds from the time we could help until we left home. It was therefore somewhat of a relief when the 17 degree frost killed the flowers on our fig tree this year. I had visions of staying guilt-free at the farm and not having to think about the number of figs going to waste.
We had always wondered about the little figs that appeared shortly after the first leaves — and sometimes before. I did a little research after the frost and found out that what look like figs are actually inverted flowers. It seems odd to me that a flower and the fruit look pretty much the same, but it clearly works for the tree — aside from the fact that it is dependent on a specific species of wasp for pollination. But no flowers equals no figs and that meant a summer without chopping, boiling, stirring and canning figs every 3 days or so!
Then, lo and behold, a couple of weeks ago the fig tree erupted with twice as many figs as in years past! I don’t know whether having more leaves before producing flowers inspired the tree to pop out so many or whether it’s just saying thank-you for the Miracle Grow. Either way, I’ll be making fig jam again this year. On a positive note, I get to experiment with even more recipes.
Our biggest yield last year was 15 pounds in one picking. Now, I was picking about 3 pounds every day when we were in the city and the 15 pounds were a week’s growth after a farm trip. That much maxed out my big jam saucepan. At the farm today, I was so happy to see our three new fig trees recovering from the frost and the drought, but I’m also wondering about our level of insanity in planting 3 trees! I may need to get that 6-burner stove I’d been considering for the new house.
For now, I’m going to stop worrying about the figs in my future and go harvest wild blackberries! I don’t think I’ve tried fig and blackberry jam yet, but I know that fig and apple jam is one of my favorites!
I’ll have to boil them and then freeze them here and then take them back to the city to turn into jam, but that much I can handle on my little RV stove! Let me check to see if it’s stopped raining so that I can start picking…..