Sunday, 13 September 2015

Figs and honey

Figs and honey. Doesn't that conjure up wonderful images? The warmth of Tuscany or Greek islands where fig trees are everywhere and the streets are often sticky underfoot with over ripe fruit. I don't suppose Norfolk is top of your list. Well this week it was on ours.

Our bees only got settled from mid-June so they've just been making honey for a couple of months but they have been very busy so we decided to take a single frame of honey and left the rest for their winter stores. Because it was just a small amount we decided to extract manually (not using a spinner). I got Andrew involved in this because he is much steadier with a sharp knife than me!

First you have to take the wax cappings off.

It was quite a warm day so the honey ran out quite nicely.

You then get a spatula and gently, but firmly, push the rest of the honey out.

You now have a mixture of honey and wax which need separating. I had bought a double sieve which has two grades of mesh so we just popped the mix on top and let it slowly filter through.

From this we got two jars of honey. Andrew worked out that so far each jar has cost approximately £190 - I'm sure it will be better next year!

When we bought Nelson House it had a fig tree which was in completely the wrong place and so two summers ago we moved it. At the end of autumn last year I removed all the figs that were bigger than my thumb nail and was rewarded by quite a good crop this year.

The trouble with figs is that they go from unripe to overipe in the blink of an eye so we gathered them up and I made fig jam.

The smell while cooking is just gorgeous...

and it tastes like a warm hug!

Breakfast yesterday was quite special.

Fig jam recipe

1 kg figs - washed and diced
700g sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
Vanilla bean - halved and split

Mix all the ingredients and marinade overnight.

Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Watch carefully in the last five minutes as this jam sets really easily.
Take off the heat, remove the vanilla and pour intowarm, sterilised jars.

1 comment:

  1. All very interesting about the bees. I have two friends up here who have just started to abandon bee-keeping. They find it hard physically (not in the first flush of youth) and also too tying. You seem to be as enthusiastic as ever - hooray! But I'm not enthusiastic about fig jam. Apart from strawberry, it's about the only jam I really dislike. Far too sweet and cloying. It's a shame, as I have only just found an English source of figs. Shucks, I'll just have to eat them as they are.