Early last summer while walking into a Lowe’s hardware store we saw fig trees for sale. Not being an expert on figs I assumed that being native to the Middle East they weren’t something for Ohio’s climate but upon further reading of their detailed tag that indeed the variety of Chicago Hardy was listed as fit for Ohio’s winters. We took home one tree and planted it, and it barely looked like it did any growing over the course of the last summer. Now I wasn’t expecting fruit anytime soon, but amazingly this summer after moving the tree to make room for our eventual wood fired pizza oven that we were digging the foundation of, the tree took off and really grew nicely and put out two figs. Amazingly they grew and ripened and the other day, at the end of a rough day we cut the two little figs in half and ate them. They were quite good, better of course having picked them feet from where we were eating, maybe not the best figs ever, but something I never expected to be eating in Columbus fresh from the tree.
Just like the hipsters in Brooklyn we’ve been doing some home canning this summer, and with the last harvest of the year we grabbed a whole bunch of green tomatoes before the first frost hit. Hating to see such a beautiful lot go to waste we decided to turn them into some relish and can it so that we could share it and get a taste of summer (or I guess autumn) later in the winter. The recipe came from the University of Florida IFAS Extension School, and is really simple and easy if you use a food processor to make quick work of it all (while slower a good old fashion box grater would work and would likely add some hipster cred to your finished product). Basically the recipe consists of green tomatoes,peppers (we used green peppers and some banana peppers from the same harvest), onions, vinegar, mustard, cornstarch, and sugar, we also put some pickling spices in a tea ball to infuse with all that.(see the link above for the recipe, as always with canning its a good idea to follow an established recipe from a credible source – don’t want to flirt with botulism). Everything gets chopped up in the food processor into a fine dice and gets cooked up for five minutes in salted water in a big pot before being drained and then cooked up a second time for five minutes with the vinegar, sugar, etc. I wish we had thought to split the batch to make an extra spicy relish, but the stuff turned out great and would be great anywhere you’d use pickle relish and beyond.