It’s raining, it’s pouring…..

image

Wild and free Sunflower Vanilla Ice

But I’m certainly not snoring! I’m celebrating because it’s been a very dry summer and we need some water on our thirsty gardens. I can almost hear the slurp, slurp as the green and plant like amongst us suck up the moisture. Autumn is probably my favourite time of year (although I know I say that about Spring when she comes flouncing along in all her finery) because I like the Back To School feeling (I grew up in England remember where the school year starts in September) which was a promise of Fresh Starts. Now, in New Zealand it still heraldsĀ a start of sorts for me because it’s a time to reflect on the last growing season, learn from it and start planning for the new season. However, before the planning I still have a small matter of 500 fig trees to harvest!

 

image

Black Genoa Figs ripening nicely in the sunshine

It’s full swing in the Figgery at the moment. My two ancient Brown Turkey trees are dripping with fruit although they are a whole month late this year due to the cold Spring. I’m finding that the majority of the fruit are classed as seconds or processing grade which means they’ll end up in Te Mata Fig’s chutneys, salamis and pastes. Normally when I begin picking the majority of the fruit will be 1st grade. I think it’s a combination of the fact that the figs have spent an extra month hanging around on the tree and they’re also pretty old and have been quite neglected on the pruning front.

 

image

Beautiful Black Genoa figs

The main Fig Orchard is just two years old. I thought we may get a few figs this year but every variety is showing some fig action particularly the Black Genoa which is very exciting! It’s an easy fig to spot because when it’s ripe it’s purple coat glistens. The Black Genoa is a purple skinned, pear shaped fruit that contains a luscious red flesh that is very sweet. Great eaten straight from the tree or for use in jams. Or for a real treat try this Fig Muffin recipe.

200g self raising flour
Pinch of salt
2tsp cinnamon
125g caster sugar
100g brown sugar
1 orange or 2 satsumas
200g fresh Black Genoa figs (or other variety), chopped
250ml Greek Yoghurt
50g softened butter
1 egg, lightly beaten

Add all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Grate the zest of the orange (or satsumas) into another bowl with the yoghurt, butter and egg and beat together gently. Add to dry ingredients and fold together gently. Peel and chop orange (or satsumas) and add to mixture with the figs. You want small pieces of fruit so take your time. You should have a lumpy old mixture to spoon into muffin cases. Bake at 180c for 30-35 mins.

Delish! If only I had a photo to show you but sadly we scoffed the lot….. It’s quite hard to find baking recipes that call for fresh figs (lots using dried figs) so if you know of any please do let me know.