Dry And Store August Figs Properly
I rank August on the list of my favourite months for many reasons! One of these reasons is figs. Black figs, white figs, "royal" figs from Markopoulos Attica, or Messinian figs, all together and individually, fill the basket with summer fruits I could eat daily.
At the same frequency, I could also consume the dried figs that I love to buy, especially in the winter months, from the shelves of supermarkets and delicatessens and thus keep in my kitchen cupboards one of the sweetest pieces of my summer memories.
However, since discovering how easily I can dry fresh August figs, I've stopped buying and devoted myself wholeheartedly to the hidden joys of home gardening. The steps are straightforward and clear.
As for the result? Unfortunately, it is so successful that it also shows up on my scale (the guilty summer caloric pleasure that extends into winter)!
Before starting the process, I always remember that the fruits I cut must be ripe and unripe. Also another golden rule is to avoid humid conditions. That is why September is the ideal month for such a job.
But what is the process of drying figs, and after that, how and where can I store them so they remain qualitatively unchanged?
The step-by-step drying process
After collecting our figs from the fig tree, we cut them in half, taking care not to separate the two pieces. Place them carefully on a tray, which we have first covered with baking paper.
Cover them with a net or a protective food sieve and leave them in the sun for at least three days. Every day, we turn them on their sides every five to six hours, while at night, we bring them inside our house, as the evening outdoor humidity can lengthen their drying time.
Three days later, our figs will be visibly dehydrated. There are two possibilities: Fill them with roasted almonds or hazelnuts (one almond or hazelnut per pair) or leave them as is.
In both cases, we will need to bake them for about 10 minutes in the oven (on the resistances) at 180 degrees until they brown. If we want to add a little extra sweetness, we can caramelise them after taking them out of the oven.
Brushing them, using a brush, with a bit of water in which we have dissolved brown sugar and a pinch of cinnamon powder. In this case, please leave them in the oven for another 15 minutes.
Finally, to preserve them, we store them in a glass jar that closes with a lid and leaves them in a dry and shady place. They are kept this way for over a year.
We enjoy them in salads or our energy bowls with yogurt and oats, even as a snack, accompanied by prosciutto, hard-aged cheeses or Camembert and dry red wines.
By Loukia Chrusovitsanou.
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