It has been a long, hot summer, and it’s not over yet. This was our South facing deck 4 days ago; fortunately we have had some huge thunder, lightning and rain storms since.
So Strawberry season came and went, as did Blackberries, Blueberries, and Peaches (pretty much). And other than baking a few pies, I froze most of what I picked. Of more interest to me has been the figs, which seem to be a big deal in this part of the South.
It started with some friends mentioning to me that they used to enjoy a Fig and Rosewater Ice Cream at a local restaurant. I haven’t seen it there, but it sounded like a challenge I could meet! However our fig tree is still young and doesn’t bear enough fruit for a recipe like that. So I made the ice cream with dried figs from the grocery store. And it was quite nice! Then a neighbour happened to mention that her fig tree was bearing and asked if I wanted any? Did I????????? Long story short, since then I have made the ice cream a number of times – with figs dried, fresh, stewed, and with preserved ginger added. And they were all good. But I’m done with that now!
In the meantime, I was in Florida a few weeks ago, in the area known for Tupelo Honey (and oysters!) I am actually not a huge fan of honey; maybe it was growing up with that waxy white stuff in the plastic container that you scooped and spread on toast. Since then of course I have tasted other, shall we say artisanal, honeys – alfalfa, clover, orange blossom, wildflower…….apparently there are 300 different types of honey in the US (and probably many of the same in Canada). But I must say, unprocessed, unfiltered Tupelo Honey beats any that I’ve tried. The flavours are complex, more so than my palate can grasp, but I certainly get lime and roses and maybe oranges as well.
I was thinking of using it to make ice cream and when I started looking at recipes, I was inspired by one from Gourmet Magazine September 2003, Honey Lavender Ice Cream, using dried food-grade lavender blossoms. I’ve made a few “adjustments” to the recipe, including one version with Earl Grey Lavender Tea bags which give just a hint of the bergamot as well. Fortunately they are all small batches, about a quart/litre each, so they go pretty quickly (especially if we get invited to friends for dinner!)
Speaking of dinner, I sure miss those oysters!