Monday, October 11, 2010

Making Dried Figs

I have been picking a few figs before and after work. Every day I see broken fig bits on the ground and partially eaten figs on the tree. I see the squirrels running back and forth the fence and jumping into the tree every day. Today is Indigenous People's Day in Berkeley Area while the rest of the country is Columbus Day. I didn't need to go to the cubicle job, so I grabbed the basket and finally got a chance to pick all the ripe and mostly ripe figs.

If you are familiar with figs, you know they don't stay fresh too long. I like to preserve some for later. I rinsed the figs first just because they have been sitting out there in the dust and who knows how many squirrels have climbed over them. After the were rinsed, I cut each in half and placed them on a cooling rack. Just my luck that we are having another heatwave here in the Bay Area. My sun room was over 90 degrees, so I left the sheet of fig halves in there until the sun started to set.

In the evening I transferred the figs into the dehydrator and set it at 140 degrees for drying vegetables and fruits. Within an hour, the aroma of figs filled the kitchen. I wish I could bottle this awesome aroma. Some of the figs are much bigger than the other. The bigger ones will take longer to dry. It will most likely take a couple nights for all of them to dry. They will reduce in size greatly when they are done. I will then bag them in zip lock bags just like I did with the dried apple slices. If you don't have a dehydrator or sun room, you can dry figs in your oven. Set the oven to the lowest setting possible and keep the door ajar with a metal spoon or something heat tolerant. I did this last year before getting a dehydrator. If you are looking for a dehydrator, check first. Sometimes people give them away under "free" section. You can also get them under "appliances" or "household" of "For Sale" section. I got mine off craigslist for a fraction of retail price.

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