Everybody looks forward to June as it is when we realise summer is truly here. But for fellow fruit lovers, we look forward to June because it is the time of our delicious fig season.
To be honest last year was not a great year for fruit. Yield was very poor and if it were not for Spanish and Turkish imports, our fig binge would have been a disaster. This year seems to be a different story. Fruit and vegetable purveyors have been lining their shelves abundantly with our prized local fruit. Goodspeed that this continues.
There are two seasons for figs. One in June and a second harvest in August. The June fig harvest normally always coincides with the feast of St. John the Baptist in Xewkija. Hence why in Gozo fellow locals refer to the figs as ‘Bajtar ta’ San Gwann‘ (Fig of St John).
La tistennix il-bajtra taqa’ f’ħalqekDon’t wait for the fig to fall into your mouth
Bajtar (figs) and bajtra (fig) is what we call the fruit in Maltese. Due to its droopy shape, we sometimes associate people with a fig – ‘Qissek bajtra!‘ (You are like a fig!). This is an expression to describe someone who as slouching.
Another popular expression used is ‘La tistennix il-bajtra taqa’ f’halqek‘ (Don’t wait for the fig to fall into your mouth). Once the fruit is ripe, it still takes quite a time for the fig to fall off the tree. There is a better chance that the fig will be swarmed by bees before it actually drops. Therefore the expression is a way of telling you to go for it and get it done as once the fruit falls on its own, the probability is that it will be rotten.
Once the peak of the fig harvest reaches and the fruit is very ripe and too soft to handle, it is time to lock down those figs for future use. Below we are sharing a nice fig chutney recipe which is easy to make and preserve. Even though chutneys are not classified as Mediterranean cuisine as it origins lay in India, you can still find similarities to a Moorish kitchen.
All in all, take the opportunity and try out the recipe. We are sure once you want to make a simple snack while sipping on a glass of wine, this chutney will make the party happen with some water biscuits and sharp cheese.
- Digital weighing scale
- Heavy-bottom pot
- Knife and chopping board
- 3 x Sterilised 250ml Clip Jars
- 600 grams Figs (approximately 8 to 9)
- 2 Red Onions (finely sliced)
- 1 Green Apple (finely chopped)
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 400 ml Red Wine Vinegar
- 250 grams Granulated Sugar
- 100 grams Turkish Sultanas
- 1 Orange (zest and juice)
- 1 Red Chilli (finely chopped)
- 1 inch Fresh Ginger (finely chopped)
- 1 tbsp Yellow Mustard Seeds
- 1 tsp Cinnamon Powder
- 1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
- 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
- In a heavy-bottom pot, on medium heat, sauté the onions with the olive oil until slightly soft and translucent.
- Add the red wine vinegar and sugar and stir to combine.
- Add the chopped ingredients (figs, apple, chilli and ginger).
- Add the remaining ingredient and leave the pot simmering on low heat for 1 hour. Stir from time to time with a spatula. Ensure you scrape the bottom of the pot each time.
- Once ready take off the heat to cool down. Bottle in sterilised jars and store in a cool place until needed. Should last up to 2 to 3 months. Refrigerate once opened.