Sunday, April 10, 2011

Autumn fruits

My sister-in-law was in town the other day. Her grandfather died and she made a flying trip down for the funeral. She brought me down some fruit from her garden:

Those are, from left to right, figs, feijoas (she brought more than this but I gave some away to a friend who adores them), and passionfruit. She and my brother live in Auckland, which is sub-tropical, whereas I live in Dunedin which, although officially temperate, is more like sub-arctic a lot of the time, so it's quite a treat to get fresh fruit like this that I can't grow.

Of course I couldn't eat it all at once, some preserving needed to be done.

I halved all of the passionfruit, …

… scooped out the pulp into ice cube (except they're not cubes) trays …

… and froze it. When it was all frozen solid I popped it out of the trays …

… and put the lumps into a freezer box for easy access:

Now when I want a passionfruit I can just defrost a lump or two of pulp.

The figs were next. I decided on fig jam.

I had 750 g of figs and my jam book told me to cover them with boiling water for 3 minutes, …

… then drain them and squeeze out the excess water. There wasn't any excess water to I went on to the next step …

Which was cut them up or crush them, and cook in a tablespoon of lemon juice, adding a little water if necessary to stop them sticking:

Once they were tender (not sure about this, they seemed pretty tender to me from the beginning, I waited until they were cooked to mush) I was to add a cup of sugar and boil quickly until the setting point was reached. Setting point was pretty much immediately - I think these figs might have been a bit juice deficient.

Anyway, I poured the jam into hot sterilised (sort of, straight out of the hot dishwasher) jars and screwed on the lids:

Now I need to get my act together and make some labels.

And look what was in my very own garden:

There are heaps more on the vine too. They are very small grapes, but very tasty. I only get grapes every three years or so; grapes are not supposed to be able to grow outside here really at all. Most people have their grapevines in a glasshouse.

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