Yep, I’m addicted.
What does summer smell like? A tomato plant, honeysuckle, and of course ripe figs. Our family fig tree is around 90 years old. It’s part of our family. Growing up on a small family hobby farm was just the norm for me. I was always outside and paid way more attention to the animals than anything else! The fig tree stood beside the brooder house, much smaller then, like any other fruit tree planted on the property. As a child- I just didnt’ pay it much attention. As a grown up- I’m obsessed. Each summer it blesses us with LOADS of figs.
What better to do when you are exhausted from making fig preserves? Make vinegar. This vinegar is really good on roasted vegetables, cheese pizza, and salads. It can be expensive in stores…so make your own. If you don’t have a fig tree you can purchase figs from local farmers markets in July/August or make friends with someone who has a fig tree!
Here’s the recipe below followed and your instructons (Yes, you will need those!)
Quart size mason jar/used pickled okra jar/pickle jar/lock tight jars are great too
Organic, unfiltered, apple cider vinegar- cold pressed…whatever you know- REAL!
about a pound of figs or enough to fill your jar
filtered water/spring water
strainer- I never use metal when fermenting. Order a strainer from Amazon thats NYLON. When you ferment or preserve always try to use natural fiber materials- never metal.
Ready? First, boil jar/weight/lid (unless plastic, duh) in a big pot to sterlize. Take a quart size mason jar or a lock tight jar with a rubber seal and fill with figs up to the “neck”. Use filtered, tepid water or spring water and fill to almost full. Use 1/4 cup of your organic raw vinegar (use 1/4 PER liter of water for you people who are really motivated and using those BIG pickle jars from Walmart)
Take your fermentation weight and put on top just under lid. If using a mason jar lid use a bit of wax paper to create a barrier between the liquid and the lid. You can use a mason jar plastic lid they sell these in the jar section of stores. The trick to the fermentation weight is to put it right at the top. You don’t want any figs above your liquid.
Seal the top and let it sit for 30 days. A white mold/fungus will form on top. Don’t freak out! Perfectly normal. You will skim this off at the end. If it’s black mold scoop off with a small spoon (wooden if you can). If it’s a lot of black mold use your judgement and maybe throw that out. It’s not common but it can happen. Mostly, it’s white mold, because it’s good bacteria happening in there!
IMPORTANT!! BURP your jar every two days or so. What? BurP? Yes, just unscrew the jar and let it breathe a bit. Why? Because you don’t want to bring the shop vac in the house and clean up broken glass and figs all day on a Saturday like I did. Carbonation happens. It just does. And it’s your friend. So just remember to just open that lid every few days at least!
At the end of your 30 days you are ready to strain the liquid and the figs. Flour towels or cheese cloth can be used to squeeze more liquid out of those figs. Here’s where you might need a funnel to work with your strainer. I usually miss the bottle so I finally bought a funnel at Target. You can store your vinegar in a mason jar or a fancy bottle like the ones below. Remember you want a beautiful, red liquid at the end of this process!
**A month later… “Something is floating in my vinegar!” It’s alright! Your vinegar may form a scoby. A scoby is formed from acetic acid bacteria which is a good, natural thing. Strain it out if you don’t like the look of it.
Refrigerate and Enjoy!
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