Sunday, December 11, 2011

Booze of the Week: Mission Fig and Orange Liqueur

You can identify them (false prophets) by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? – Matthew 7:16 (New Living Translation)

Photo: threefishsleeping, Flickr ccl
I guess you could call this a Christmas themed liqueur. It would certainly be nice served in front of a roaring fire. Figs are suddenly on the menu of quite a few people during the Christmas season. They should be used more commonly, year round.

Fresh Mission figs. Photo: foodchronicles, Flickr ccl
Fig trees in themselves are beautiful. They would warrant being grown for their looks alone. The figs are an amazing bonus. If you’ve never eaten a fresh fig you should buy one the next time you see it. Fresh figs can be a bit pricey but the taste? Indescribable.

Most of us are only familiar with dried figs. Oddly, I've read that the iron content is higher in dried figs than fresh. Both fresh and dried are also very high in dietary fibre.

Figs (ficus) are distantly related to mulberries, breadfruit and jackfruit. They appear to have originated in western Asia and made their way to the Mediterranean region quite early. Evidence of figs have been found in digs going back to 5,000 BCE.

Figs require sun all day to ripen fruit. They can be severely damaged at temperatures of just below freezing if they are in active growth. In colder climates, if forced to go dormant, they can possibly last to15°F. 

This is just the vodka, orange and figs.
I have heard if you tip them over and bury them under dirt for the winter you have a better chance of success. That might work for a small tree. I would suggest we who are not lucky enough to have the climate to grow figs make do with dried…

There is a fig tree growing at a garden centre in Dartmouth that has been indoors for at least 15 years. Of course they have the facility to deal with it. This past season I saw fig trees (very small) for sale at Crosby’s Garden Centre in Queens County. Or at least I think I did…

This liqueur uses dried Mission figs. They are the black variety. The most common fig in the grocery stores is Calimyrna from California which are brown and a little larger. Missions have a very good taste and certainly add a deep, dark colour to this liqueur. They are also a little cheaper.

I opted to add a little zing by infusing an orange with the figs. When choosing oranges for any liqueur pick them up and smell them. They need to be very fragrant. What you smell will be part of the finished liqueur, so make sure you get good strong ones.

Mission Fig and Orange Liqueur
Time: 2 weeks  | Yield: about 3.5 cups
300 g dried black mission figs
1 whole navel orange (very well scented - smell it before buying)
2 cups vodka
1-1/4 cup sugar
1-1/4 cup water

Squeeze the infused juice from the oranges, but NOT the figs.
They would break down and cloud the liqueur.
Cut the figs in half and place in a 1L Mason jar. Slice the orange, with the peel, into 8 equal pieces. Add them to the jar as well.

Pour the 2 cups of vodka over the fruit. The jar should be almost completely full. Cover tightly, shake well and let sit for 2 weeks. Agitate periodically during the 2 weeks infusing period.

After the two weeks strain the infused vodka through a sieve lind with fine cotton. Squeeze out as much liquid from the fruit as you can. Restrain at least one more time through clean cotton cloth. This will remove as much sediment as possible. 

Boil the sugar and water together for 5-7 minutes. Let cool slightly and stir into the fig infused vodka.

Decant the liqueur into bottles.


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1 comment:

  1. Can't tell you how much I appreciate your thought provoking recipes with foraged ingredients! FANTASTIC!!! :)