Fig Preserves: Gulf-Coast Favorite Making a Comeback

| 8/9/2016 1:42:00 PM

Tags: figs, preserves, canning, Ed Hudson, Texas,

Bowl of Figs

Prior to the 1960s, the fig tree was a ubiquitous fixture in many home landscapes in the Houston area. As the baby boomers bought houses, they drifted away from the more bushy and spreading habit of the messy fig tree in favor of taller more vertical ornamental trees. However, it seemed that everyone’s grandmother had a fig tree -- which meant every summer, they had fig jam.

As a child, fig jam never really appealed to me. It was very foreign looking with big chunks of fruit, but the “old” folks loved it and eagerly awaited its arrival. It appears that recently, the fig tree is making a comeback. Every year, you see more and more of them peeking over backyard fences loaded with fruit and opportunistic birds. We are one of those houses. Our fig tree, chosen by a child and once relegated to a pot, was planted a few years ago along the wrought iron fence in our backyard -- primarily, in my mind, to give us some privacy. For the first two years in its new home, it grew slowly, dropping leaves and putting on new ones at seemingly random times of the year while producing few fruit and none larger than a marble. While it was slowly fulfilling its role as a privacy screen, the lack of fruit made me start thinking about removing or replacing it with a different variety. This was rather odd to me, since I am not a huge fan of of figs, and other than preserves, I wasn’t quite sure what else to do with figs, but the allure of summer fruit, memories of Mimi’s fig tree and my Mediterranean blood kept me from getting rid of our little tree.

Slicing Figs

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