How wonderful are friends and how lucky am I!
Every week I spend time volunteering at a local community house called Segue, in Stratford, and it is here that I have made some wonderful friends. We love to share our experiences, plants and produce from each other’s gardens and stories and the occasional cuppa.
One friend, Shirley, often brings a bunch of beautiful flowers from her garden, and these flowers have convinced us we need to plant a protea or two in our garden. She also has access to a neighbours’ fruit trees, and has kept me well supplied with figs. In return I give her fig vinegar, along with various jams, chutnies or relish that I may be making at the time. I also make sure that there are preserves set aside for our little produce stall at Segue where we raise money for our “Garden for the Community”.
I have written about making and using fig vinegar in earlier posts and recipes, but there was an issue that I had with it. After making the vinegar, the solids were thrown into the compost! This tormented me, it seemed such a waste! To me, figs are such a precious commodity – so what to do? It took me a while, but then I thought… well, really, the figs have just been steeping in blend of balsamic and cider vinegar, and relish has vinegar in it. Figs go beautifully with purple onion, and with the addition of few other ingredients, I soon had a use for the bi-product of my fig vinegar – Fig & Purple Onion Relish.
I hate waste, and when it comes to figs, I hate waste even more!
I have been making fig vinegar for some time now, but what to do with the solids after straining? Figs are way to precious to throw into the compost! So this is what I do with the solids once the vinegar is done and stored.
I always make a big batch so that I can share with our family and friends.
- 500 g purple onions peeled and cut into 1 cm wedges
- 500 g raw sugar
- 750 g fresh figs washed and chopped
- 1750 g reserved solids from the making of the fig vinegar
- 250 ml balsamic vinegar
- 250 ml apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp ground cloves
- 2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp cinnamon ground
- 125 g salt
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp fine ground white pepper
- 1 cup sweet sherry
Layer the onions with the salt in a non-reactive dish, cover and let stand overnight.
The following day, drain and lightly rinse the onions, place them in a large pan, together with all of the other ingredients.
Bring to the boil, and boil gently for approximately one hour, or until the sauce has reached a thick consistency.
Fill into warm sterilised jars and seal.
When cool, label and store in a dark, cool place.
Will keep for one year, unopened.
Once opened, store in the refrigerater.
Perfect with cheese, ham and game.
I love it with bread and cheese (I make my own gluten free baguette), but equally it is delicious spread into the base of a savoury tart, then topped with fresh figs and feta or goats cheese. It would also be perfect with meats such as ham, pork, game, etc.
So, thank you Shirley, for your wonderful friendship, the beautiful flowers and the precious figs.
Until next time…
Happy gardening & bon appétit!
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