Pickled figs

I’m starting to dread the trip to the compost heap. I get thwacked by the branches as I walk past.

So many figs! And that is not a boast. It’s more a lament.

I simply cannot make any more jam. (Glass jam jar shortage.) Or freeze any more buckets of the beasts. The freezer is groaning.

All the neighbours are similarly afflicted, so I can’t even give them away.

And I feel so bad that I am leaving them to rot on the tree.

I could, at a pinch, make more jam. One more batch. And I have kept back a few kilos to make chutney when the mood strikes. And when I track down my favourite sized 104 ml jars.

But reaching Peak Fig is what I declare.

And to celebrate the almost end of the fig season I give you this.

Figs pickled in vinegar, sugar, fennel, all spice berries, thyme, bay leaves and Szechuan pepper leaves.

The recipe calls for peppercorns. But I find that unless you crush them (and who hasn’t seen a peppercorn merrily ping off the worktop and skitter under the fridge mid crush?) they don’t impart much flavour.

So instead I carefully picked off leaves from my Szechuan pepper plant (ouch, spikes) and added them to the mix.

But the name just doesn’t do the fruit justice. I prefer what I am going to label them in French.

Figues aigres-douces.

I may not be able to give away the fresh fruit, but these will go down a treat for Christmas.

Bring on the next Fête des Voisins.