Our previous house is a short walk from our present cottage and although we moved home six years ago, we failed to leave the village (Our efforts to obtain telephone quotes from removal companies proved unexpectedly interesting given that the postal district we were due to leave was the very same one we intended arrive at). In the former dwelling, with little foresight regarding any specific garden bounty, we planted some fruit trees. Incorporated in the random selection were a Fig, a Walnut and a Medlar tree. Many of which waited until we left before providing substantial crops; none more so than during the present season. Fortunately the new occupants are both neighbourly and magnanimous. More importantly, they don’t like figs. This was our cue for some legitimate scrumping – at the cutting edge I might even be called a forager these days.

However, the net result was a bucket of fresh, green figs.

With the possible exception of courgettes I have, over time, upped my game on ancillary garden bonanzas. In turn, my preserving skills have, by scant degree, moved towards the practical. I now pickle and conserve for Britain.

My lockdown stress level is routinely triggered by unseen anguish whilst trying to achieve the correct ‘setting point’, I’m just not sure how all those W.I. members manage to make so much jam, yet appear so serene. However this little number was so straightforward, calm managed to thoroughly permeate the kitchen.

Fig Conserve from Preserves and Pickles (1989) Heather Lambert

1 kg green figs, quartered
2 lemons
1 kg sugar

Put the figs in a pan with the finely grated rind and juice of the lemons and cook gently until soft
If necessary add 2 tbsp water
Meanwhile warm the sugar in a bowl in a pre-heated oven 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4 for 20 minutes
Add the sugar to the figs and heat gently, stirring until dissolved, then bring to the boil and boil rapidly until setting point is reached
Cool slightly, stir, then pour into hot sterilized jars and cover