Thursday, 1 August 2013

Almost Figged Out!

It is becoming quite apparent that we can't keep up with the fig production.  We have abandoned about ten trees which are very young and have very few figs on them, we are also not looking at another ten trees that are not yet ripe (probably a different variety) and the purple skinned figs are almost ready for picking, but that still leaves around ten trees that are needing harvesting on a daily basis.


We have a running total of around 14kg so far. And now I noticed that some of the figs are past their best while still on the tree.  They are starting to dry out and wrinkle in the fierce summer sun and the ants are beginning to get wind of them.

We were also warned about the fig guns (loud gas canons that go off randomly to scare the birds away) and not having any fig guns ourselves we worried a bit about the birds carrying off the crop. Ha!! We would welcome a bird if we actually saw one!  All of our neighbours have figs and some of them quite large plantations - I understand that this is their livelihood and they are so concerned about the birds that they all have their fig guns booming away all day AND ALL NIGHT!  The poor birds can't even roost anywhere nearby without getting scared off their perches.  And of course we lie in bed at night humming the 1812 overture and trying to synchronise with the canons - suprising how often we get it right - it was funny for about half an hour... now it just keeps us awake and makes us grumpy during the day!

Right about now I would welcome a flock of birds - at least the figs wouldn't go to waste.  I perhaps should just bite the bullet, harvest and take the figs down to the co-operativa.  There is a problem with this... we would have to officially join and the joining fee is 600 euros.  This is a lifetime one-off fee but it really is a bit hefty and we don't see any real benefits of membership at the moment.  Yes, of course the main benefit is that they will take our figs but the amount they pay is less than the cost of petrol to get the figs down the road to them.  I believe that next year I will be more prepared and will be able to use our fig crop more wisely and possibly get more money for it than the co-operativa are prepared to pay.


So... to experiment and try not to waste too much of the crop, I rigged up a makeshift drying rack for the figs.  Basically my clothes horses with some fabric on top.  I've never done this before and I don't know the rules or how you are supposed to do it.  No one seems very clear... they just keep saying you put the figs in the sun and they dry...

Well... this lot went into the sun three days ago.  I bring them in at night because there is a moth that likes to lay eggs in them apparently. They are certainly drying out.  They don't look very nice at the moment and I have my doubts.  They do smell wonderful though.


This is another experiment.  I cut the figs and put a blanched almond in each half.  The almonds came from dear friends (J&D) who have their own almond trees in Andalucia.  They look pretty ... but will they still look pretty when they have dried?  I love dried figs and in the UK I used to buy them regularly but they didn't look like these... I suspect that these are only going to be any use for processing into fig rolls or somesuch.  I will let you know once I think they have dried properly.



Oh yes... and keep checking back on the fig total... it goes up daily... and our purple figs are ripening by the hour - they are the tastiest ones.







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