I remember planting our first fig tree in our summerhouse in Paros.
It was small and fragile, we waited for years until it finally found its ground, settling in and branching out, giving life to glorious royal figs and beautiful leaves. Years came by and, new branches surprisingly spring out in several different corners, clinging on the stone walls of the garden.
I was experimenting with this recipe, adding some apples too. It is easy to make, and it is just perfect next to some creamy goat’s cheese and a few thick slices of walnut bread.
The end of August is my last chance to capture summertime in the island, place it in little jars and take it back with me, for the long winter days to come…
850 g fresh figs, chopped
400 g dried figs, finely chopped
3 large red onions, finely chopped
3 medium apples, chopped into small cubes
40 g fresh ginger, cut into fine matchsticks
3 teaspoons ground allspice
1 pinch dried, chili-pepper flakes
2 teaspoons lemon zest, finely-grated
700 g demerara sugar
2 teaspoons salt
800 ml red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons black pepper,Vfreshly ground
1. Combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to α boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
2. Uncover the pan and continue simmering for about 1½ hours, stirring often, until the chutney is reduced. (Note: Depending on the figs, this chutney can sometimes take over 2 hours to reduce.) If the chutney becomes too dry, add a little warm water. Taste and correct the seasoning.
3. Spoon into the previously prepared sterilized jars, and seal. The chutney will keep for up to 8 or 9 months, if stored in a cool, dark place. Once opened, refrigerate and use within 4 weeks.
Makes 4 to 5 jars of 350 ml capacity.