On a recent road trip with an awesome friend of 20+ years, I was given in inordinate amount of grapes by her extremely generous gardening friend. I am not sure of the variety but they are much denser than the seedless green ones you find in the supermarket. My knowledge of most fruits, vegetables, plants, animals…is pretty rudimentary.
So upon my return, I was trying to wrap my head around what to do with this crazy awesome big ol’ bag of grapes. When I think of grapes, I either picture just eating a bowl full or, because they are a fruit ( I have that much food knowledge) I picture jam. The thought of these grapes in a preserve of some sort made me just a wee bit giddy. Of course some of the enthusiasm could have been left over from the fact that, on this road trip destination, we were lodging right next to a vineyard and working winery.
So how to begin this jammy happy journey I queried myself. Quiet, I’m thinking, I replied.
Figs! Who doesn’t think of pairing grapes and figs? So off I went to procure some Figgy goodness. And of course, it had to be Trader Joe’s because my belly loves their food and my budget loves their prices.
When I returned from frolicking, I got my joyous bunches of washed grapes and plucked about 3 cups of them from their stems. I then tossed them with a drizzle or two of olive oil, arranged them beautifully (not really) on a parchment lined cookie sheet and popped them into a 425 degree oven for 10 minutes. I let them cool on the sheet then moved them into a pot, juice and all.
Next, it was time to chop up the figs and add them to the fun. Since I still was fixating on that whole whole close proximity to a winery on the trip, I decided some Pinot Gris should come along for the ride. A scant 1/4 cup of sugar got mixed in next, and the zest from one orange finished it all off. Bring all the ingredients in the pot to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Then remove the lid, bring up the burner temperature just a bit and allow the mixture to cook down to a syrupy consistency. I took a few spoonfuls of the hot liquid after it had reduced, and placed it in a heat safe cup with 1 tsp. of cornstarch. I stirred that mixture back in and made sure the consistency got nice and thickly pourable. The last ingredient is the juice of one orange. Now let it cool, then spoon into canning jars or some other fairly tight lidded container.
So, you may have your favourite ways of using a preserve like this, but my always gotta have it is goat cheese and preserves atop a chunk of French bread. Seriously, I could make a go of this as my staple food source.
Have a happy Figgy Friday , people!