I do have selfish parents. They are spending mid-August to mid-October travelling around America, Japan and China. Don't they realise it is Fig season? I have had to make a special trip to York on two
occasions to pick figs from their tree. Couldn't they have gone in November when nothing in their garden is useful for wine? As I say, selfish.
|A fig on my parents' tree|
|My parents' tree|
My first trip was on 4th September, where I picked 3 lbs of figs. Some of this involved climbing the fig tree, feeling the branches bend beneath my weight. I also trespassed into next door's garden to pluck a juicy fig hanging beyond the party wall. Our second visit was the following week, 11 September, where only another 2 lbs were ripe - but 5 lbs is enough for a single batch of wine. There were several more fruit growing on the tree and I imagine that the birds will take full advantage.
Back home I kept the ripest figs in the freezer and let those that were still mostly green ripen on our kitchen counter. On Friday 16th September I cut each of the figs into bits and put them in my bucket. I think the figs are riper, darker than last year, but that is probably a false memory.
Though ripe defrosted figs do not require much crushing, I still attacked them with a potato masher and then covered them with 3 lbs sugar. I boiled six pints of water and poured this over, giving it all a thorough stir. At this stage the mixture was soupy, but it all separated out over the next few days. Next time I will increase the water by half a pint: on putting the wine into its demijohns on Thursday night, 22nd September, I was filtering the thickest of sludge at the end of the process and I would ordinarily have discarded this.
|The soupy fig mixture|
But I have got ahead of myself. I added the yeast and a teaspoon each of pectolase, tannin, nutrient and citric acid on Saturday morning, 17th September. Really I should have transferred the wine into the demijohns a day earlier than I did, but Wednesday was busy with WYSO and the Bake Off
. The method of transferring was the same as ever - fish out most the solids with a collander at the beginning, then start putting the liquid into the demijohn using a jug, sieve and funnel. I now have Fig wine in its demijohn, fermenting happily and dark plum in colour.
If you want to see how this wine turned out, click here