Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fig Jam

Black figs
Well, it's that time of year...fruits are starting to ripen.  Our local farms had a bitterly cold winter, late spring freeze, and no rain to speak of, fires that continue to blaze out of control. As I write is actually raining real drops.  "You know you are a New Mexican when: you are thrilled about the possibility of rain." My chickens have never seen rain.  I checked on them while it was raining, and they were huddled under their porch.....some had gone into their sleeping coop.  Befuddled would be a good word for it. I put "Irma" the black cochin hen into the sleeping coop.  Furious, she ran out into the rain. Looked at me as if I was the cause, and ran back under the porch with the others. They will be pleased with the cooling temps this afternoon.

The inside of a canning pot. Rack to hold jars upright.
The canning bath pot towers over my largest pots!
Wash figs, then pour boiling water over them for 10 minutes.
The farmers markets have mostly root veggies and greens.  Talk of apricots brought me to one this morning in Corrales, New Mexico. Karen, our neighbor and new friend offered to push me in the wheelchair.  I came home with $5 a pint cherries...not any other fruit to be had.  I'm a practical woman sometimes. :-)  I decided that buying locally  could mean a year without any fruit that wasn't from my garden.  So I will buy from states close by that have had good enough weather to produce fruit.  Trader Joes had tons of figs.  So I bought 6 pounds: 5 lbs. for jam, 1 for eating.
Quartered with stems cut off....your fingers will be purple :-)
After cooking on the stove I put it all in the food processor...smooth.
Add lemon, and back in pan to boil for one more minute
Covered and in the canning bath for 15 minutes.
I looked in my recipes file,  and then went to my Google professor.  Here's the recipe I used eons ago. I suspect I will add a bit of ginger or rosemary to the batch.

2 quarts (about 5lbs) figs, quartered, destemmed.
6 cups of sugar...however I used 4
1 cup of water
1/4 lemon juice w/1 Tablesp. of lemon zest
Spices if you like: ginger, cinnamon, rosemary, orange water, lavender

Put washed figs in large pan or bowl.  Pour  boiling water over them, cover, let stand for 10 minutes.
Destem, and quarter each fig.
Combine figs, sugar, water and cook at slow boil until thick, stirring lots to prevent sticking (about 30 minutes.)  I put them in the food processor, you can use a blender, or mash them.
Add lemon juice and boil ONLY 1 MINUTE.
Ladle into hot jars, and process 15 minutes.  Makes 12 8oz. jars.
If you do not have a canning pot, you can put in your fridge.  They should keep for at least a month.
Great filling for thumbprint jelly cookies, or klachkys.
Mmmm...we had it on toast this morning.
I ordered a second pot  today from Walmart of all places.  (I told you I was reasonable.) With shipping it was under 25 bucks.  Two will not actually fit on my stove in any configuration to come to a boil, but we have the guest house stove.  There are lots of supply houses online for canning.  Here is one link:

The rain had stopped by the time I finished writing. However, it's still cloudy, and I'm hoping for more.
Thanks for reading,
Each day is a gift. Open now.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cosette My French Hen

"I'm ready for my close up Mr. DeMille"
As with all flocks or groups of animals, there is an order.  Pecking order to be exact.  The leader of my flock is "Cosette," a Dominique French hen.  She is the first out, last in at night.  When I bring my set chair (collapsible, I toted around in the movie biz) into the coop she immediately hops on.  When I sit in the chair, she hops on my lap.  Anything new in their pen, she is on it first.
She really likes this chair!
Cosette talking to the "Tenacious 4"

Last Monday I brought the 4 Australorp chicks and their nursery into the pen.  I left the door closed for a day.  Then opened it up and put the ramp to it.  Immediately Cosette hopped up the ramp, went inside and spoke chicken to the tenacious 4.  They cocked their heads and listened to whatever she was saying.  Then she went up and down the ramp several times to show them how to do it.  Yesterday none of them wanted to venture out of their nursery.  But this morning, I opened the door and in seconds Cosette was up and down the ramp instructing them.  One followed as she watched like a mother at the bottom of a slide. 
Posing, a black Langshan hen
Talullah with her head between my knees...asking to come up on my lap.

We had our/their first rain yesterday.  It really drenched everything for the first time in 7 months.  They were under their porch watching the drops fall.  Wondering what the heck was going on.  When it stopped, they all were digging and scratching and rolling in the dirt.  On my final check for the night, all were in the sleeping coop, and Cosette was in a deep hole (chicken bath tub) rolling around all by herself.  Like a mother of young toddlers in bed for the night taking a bubble bath.  So funny.  I will try to remember to take my camera out at night to get a picture. 
Talullah keeps an eye on me :-)

Thanks for reading,
Each day is a gift. Open now.