We just put the finishing touches on our August/September 2011 issue, and one of the topics we’ve been talking about is ways to preserve your harvest: when to harvest, drying, pressing, pickling, freezing, canning or trying to use it all up in the kitchen or medicine cabinet.
Pickling caught my attention, largely because 1.) I like quick pickles and want to try my hand at them this year, and 2.) I’ve seen some pretty interesting pickled foods like the pickled watermelon my uncle sent us several years ago. My host mother made quick-pickled daikon radish while I was in Japan, which is a great touch of cool crunchiness during the humid summer there, and I’m really fond of the wide variety of Japanese pickles that are served with traditional-style meals (even though I don’t actually know what they’re made of, and no, it’s not ginger). Icelandic cuisine seems to pickle a lot of things, including sausage and whale blubber (now usually made with fish), but I've never had any of it. I tend more towards the vegetables, really. I’ve seen pickled asparagus, and of course cucumber, and squash, hot peppers, and a whole variety of other vegetables. I had not, however, seen many pickled fruits besides the watermelon. So now I have pickled figs.
They’re from Boat Street Pickles and contain dried figs, cane sugar, balsamic vinegar, red wine, rosemary and sea salt. I was a little skeptical (I didn’t touch that pickled watermelon all those years ago, which I kind of regret now), but I’ve heard good things about strawberries with balsamic vinegar and I really liked fresh figs with honey and soft cheese, so decided to taste them.
These pickled figs would be a delicious pairing for a steak, a soft cheese or ice cream.
Photo courtesy Boat Street Pickles
It turns out they’re pretty good! The label recommends eating them with ice cream, which is probably delicious, but I think the palate would be tasty with a few other dishes, too. Lightly sweet with a hint of red wine and rosemary, they seem like they’d go really well with steak or a grilled Portobello mushroom. I might include them in my next homemade salad dressing attempt. You could also pair them with cheese and a crusty bread or cracker for a snack or quick and simple hors d'oeuvres. All in all, a fun summer treat!
Want to try making your own pickled figs? Check out this recipe from Put Up Or Shut Up!