Harvesting And Storing Fresh Figs – When And How To Harvest Figs
The harvesting of fresh fruits and vegetables is one of the most common activities done by humans. There are many different methods used to harvest fruit or vegetable. Some methods involve cutting off the top part of the plant while others require digging up the roots first before harvesting. However, there are some methods which require no special tools whatsoever and they are called “the old fashioned way”.
These methods include:
1) Cutting Off The Top Of The Plant (Drying)
2) Digging Up Roots First And Then Drying The Fruit Or Vegetable On Top Of Them (Ripping)
In both cases, the fruit or vegetable is dried and stored until it’s time to use it. So, these two types of drying are very similar in terms of their storage conditions. But, the method of drying depends upon whether you’re talking about figs or other fruits and vegetables.
If you’re talking about figs, then the following three methods will be discussed:
3) Ripening At Home (Saving)
4) Drying Out At A Retail Store (Picking And Shrinking)
4.5) Drying Out By Another Party (Relaying)
3) Ripening At Home (Saving)
Saving dried figs at home is a very common practice. Many people in various parts of the world dry their own figs to be enjoyed later on. The advantages of drying figs at home are numerous. The first advantage is cost, as it is a lot cheaper to do so yourself.
The second advantage is having access to the freshest dried figs. Figs can be picked and dried within weeks. This means that your figs will never be too old or have been sitting around in a store for months or even years. The third advantage is choice; you can choose which type of fig to dry depending on taste. There are many different types of figs, some more common than others and some rarer than others. Drying the rare ones and saving them for later is something that can only be done if you dry them yourself.
The process of drying figs at home is fairly easy. The first thing that you need to do is make sure that the figs are ripe enough. Many people wait too long before harvesting and as a result the figs are not ripe enough and have to be thrown out. In some cases, people harvest their figs before they’re ripe and end up having to wait even longer for them to ripen before they can be dried.
To avoid these problems, pick them before they’re too ripe and dry them when they’re at the proper level of ripeness.
After making sure your figs are ripe enough, you need to cut them open by cutting a slit down one side. After this is done, remove the seeds and any white fleshy material inside. After this step is done, the fig should be dried thoroughly in either the sun or in an oven on a low temperature setting. Don’t dry them too quickly or the moisture won’t have time to evaporate.
Don’t dry them too slowly either or you’ll waste a lot of time. The right speed is somewhere in the middle; dry them enough that the moisture evaporates but not so much that the inside burns.
If you can’t afford an oven, then drying them in the sun is your next best bet. If you live in an area that gets a lot of rain, then it’s best to pick a day that’s not raining. Many times the rain will spoil the dried figs before they’re dry enough. Also, be sure to turn the figs over halfway through the drying process so that they dry evenly.
If you do have an oven, then it’s recommended that you buy an oven thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature. Anywhere from around 120 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit is a good temperature to dry the figs at. Keep the oven door cracked open if it’s hotter than 140 degrees because this will cause the moisture to evaporate too quickly and end up ruining the dried figs.
If you can, it’s also best to keep drying the figs in an area with a fan to blow away extra moisture. If you’re drying them in the oven, turn on the vent if you have it. This is especially important if you’re using the higher temperature setting.
Another method of drying figs that produces good results is to cut them in half and dry them with a weight on top, like a plate with some books on it. This helps squeeze out extra moisture and keeps the inside from burning.
It’s also important to keep track of how dry they are by tasting the figs throughout the drying process. It might be hard to tell when they’re ready if you’re doing a big batch, but trust your taste buds. They’ll get better at telling when they’re dried at the right time as you do it more often.
After they’re dried, store them in a cool, dry place for later use. It’s best to keep them in some sort of container, like a glass jar with a tight lid.
Fig jam is a sweet treat that goes great on crackers or on top of some low-fat vanilla ice cream!
For this recipe you’ll need:
9 cups of chopped dried figs
5 cups of water
3 cups of sugar
1 lemon (only the juice)
1 box of pectin (you can find this in the canning section)
First, chop your figs into smaller chunks. Put them in a pot on the stove and add the water. Let this mixture boil for about 5 minutes, then turn the heat off.
While this is boiling, take a separate pot (which should be glass) and line it with some cheese cloth. Strain the water and figs into this pot, making sure to squeeze out all of the extra moisture. After you’ve strained it all in, put this pot (with the cheese cloth in it) back on the stove. Turn the heat on medium and add the pectin and sugar.
Keep stirring this mixture until it starts to thicken. Remove from heat and quickly stir in the lemon juice.
After you get this thick jam into your desired containers, put them in the fridge. If you used clear containers, you should be able to see all the little pieces of fig mixed in with the rest of the jam.
This is a great way to preserve your harvest. A lot of different jams can be made this way, so feel free to experiment with your other harvests.
Many types of herbs can be dried and stored for later use in cooking and other recipes. Drying them is a simple process of just cutting out the stems and placing them out in the sun or in a dry area with good air flow. Leave them out until they’re completely dry. Some herbs will stay green when they’re dried, but others will end up turning brown.
This doesn’t mean they’re bad, it just means they’ll have a different taste or smell than you’re used to.
Once the herbs are completely dried, store them in air tight containers. Try not to use glass containers because over time the sunlight can seep through and change the flavor of the herbs. You can keep the containers in a dark place to help with this problem. A lot of people keep dried herbs in a cupboard or corner of their pantry.
If you come across any stubborn weeds in your garden, don’t throw them out! These weeds can be used in different recipes and are often just as good as store bought herbs. Pick them when you see them, being careful not to pick anything that isn’t actually a weed. The only plants you want are the ones you actually want to eat.
Some good choices for using in recipes include:
Common mallow – can be eaten either raw or cooked and can be used in place of spinach.
Cow Parsley – has a taste and smell similar to lemon. It can be eaten raw in salads or cooked, but it is mainly used as a flavoring in sauces, soups, and other foods.
Curly dock – can be used in soups and stews, though it has a bland taste and is mainly used for its thickening abilities.
Horsetail – has a taste similar to wood and is mainly used as a substitute for lemon or lime juice.
Plantain – is known as the “first aid plant” since it can be used to treat wounds caused by cuts, burns, and insect bites. Its taste is fairly bland, so it takes on the taste of whatever it’s cooked with.
Stinging Nettles – are great additions to soups and stews. The leaves can also be eaten raw in small amounts due to their high nutritional content.
Watercress – has a spicy flavor and can be used in soups, stews, and salads. It can also be eaten raw.
There are many herbs that can be dried to be used in tea. Make sure you read up on each herb before you harvest it, since some can be harmful if you eat them.
Some good choices for tea include:
Aloe Vera – has many healing properties and can help soothe the skin, reduce swelling, fight infection, and promote healing. It is often compared to the burn relieving ointment called “Burn Jel.”
Bee Balm – can be used as a substitute for peppermint and has a taste that is similar to black tea. It’s great for settling upset stomachs.
Chamomile – can be used as a sleep aid when consumed as a tea before bed. Make sure you use the Roman Chamomile, since the other kind can actually cause allergies and reactions.
Hibiscus – can lower your blood pressure when consumed on a regular basis. It tastes a lot like cranberry and can be used as a substitute in recipes that call for cranberries.
Lavender – can be used as an air freshener when combined with dried orange peels and left in a open container. It also has many healing properties and can be used to treat burns, among other things.
Mint – is great for settling upset stomachs. It’s considered to be the “cure all” of herbs and is often used in first aid kits. Peppermint has a more pungent taste than the others, so it’s often used in lattes and other drinks that are calling for a “cool” taste.
Passion Flower – can help you sleep when consumed as a tea before bed. It has a very unique taste and is often compared to apples, apricots, and raisins. It’s great for people who love candy.
Peppermint – is very good at settling upset stomachs and can be used as a breath freshener. It has a very strong taste, so it’s often used in recipes that call for a more dominant flavor.
Spearmint – is used as a cooling agent in recipes, since it helps bring down the temperature of foods with a lot of spice. It also acts as a great breath freshener. It has a very strong taste, but can be great in desserts.
Thyme – is known as the “cure all” of herbs and has been used for centuries to treat various illnesses and diseases. It’s often used in soups and stews since its strong flavor can handle other strong flavors.
Tumeric – is the main ingredient in curry and is often used to help relieve pain, settle upset stomachs, soothe inflammation, etc.
Valerian – acts as a tranquilizer and is very mild. It helps you relax without making you drowsy, which makes it perfect for helping you sleep.
If you’re in an area that has a lot of bamboo, you can use it as a source of water. Bamboo is actually a grass, so it contains water. All you have to do is drill holes into the stalks and allow the water to drip out. You can also cut stalks of bamboo for a source of water as well.
If you’re in an area that has small waterways like rivers or streams, you have the potential to create a water wheel. These are very simple to make and all you really need is a spindle and a sturdy bucket. The water will turn the spindle which will turn the bucket, allowing it to fill up with water.
If you’re in an arid area (an area that is excessively dry), look for cacti. Many people overlook this, but these plants contain water inside of them. You can easily hack open a cactus and collect the water that comes out.
Many times, people think they need water from fountains in order to survive. This isn’t true, you can easily use your own urine as a source of water! All you have to do is store your urine in a container and let it sit for a few days. After letting it sit, filter out the excess sediment from the bottom of the container.
The water is safe to drink since all the waste material has settled to the bottom.
If you find yourself in an area that has excessive moisture like swamps or marsh areas, search for bulrushes. You can find these plants growing in clusters in these areas. The outer stalk of the plant contains a lot of water, while the center stalk is extremely dry. You can easily eat the outside stalk of the plant for hydration and save the center stalk for food.
It’s been determined that cacti are actually aquatic creatures that have adapted to living in arid environments. As such, when they’re submerged under water, they still retain moisture inside their bodies. Cacti make a great source of water if you’re in an area that is dry and has cacti.
Everyone knows how important water is to our survival. Without it, none of us would be here. As such, our bodies are always thirsty, even if we don’t realize it. There are many ways to get hydrated, but the first thing you need to remember is to stay away from drinks with caffeine in them.
Caffeine has a diuretic effect, meaning it’ll make you have to pee more than usual. This can lead to unnecessary and dangerous dehydration.
There are many ways to get hydrated if you find yourself in a situation where water is scarce. Here are some ways:
Water, water, everywhere… But not a drop to drink!
Water is so important to survival that our brains trigger a desire for it even when we aren’t dehydrated. This thirst is a symptom of the last stages of dehydration and a sign that you need to find water now. Even urine contains waste products that your brain can mistake for dehydration. To avoid this, force yourself to pee as often as possible and take no more than a sip of water after each time you go.
Drinking seawater can kill you. It is more dangerous than dehydration itself, as your body will retain more water and the concentration of salt in your blood will increase drastically, leading to hypernatremia, also known as extreme water intoxication.
The body of a healthy person can survive without water for quite some time. The younger and healthier you are, the better your chances of survival. There are three stages of dehydration: mild, moderate and severe.
Mild dehydration can sneak up on you. You won’t even notice it until you’re down for the count with a raging headache and a desperate desire to find water. The problem is, when you’re this thirsty, your judgment is already severely impaired. You may seek water from less than ideal sources such as puddles or stagnant pools where bacteria and other disease carrying agents breed.
Remember to take it slow and only drink water from safe sources.
Mild dehydration may at first cause your urine to be darker than normal, but not colorless. Your throat will feel somewhat parched and you’ll experience a loss of motivation along with a mild headache after a day or two without water.
Drink small amounts of water every 30 minutes or so and keep yourself moving at a slow pace (walking). Find shade and rest for short periods of time. When your urine returns to a more clear color, you can continue your travels.
Once you reach a moderate state of dehydration, you’re in a lot more danger. You will experience the same effects as in the mild stage but much worse. Seek shade and rest immediately. Remain there until you can urinate clear.
Seek shade and rest immediately when you experience any symptom of dehydration. This is a situation where your judgment is severely impaired, so it’s best to just sit tight until your symptoms disappear and you feel like moving again.
Rest and hydrate well. If you can’t recover, you may have to resort to finding more permanent solutions, such as a nice cool morgue.
When you finally reach the severe stage of dehydration, you will experience a great deal of fatigue. The dryness of your throat and the constant pain will cause you to become delirious. At this point, the only thing you may be able to do is find good shade and drink any available water, even if it’s extremely muddy or dirty.
You can survive this if you hydrate well and rest. Seek professional medical attention if necessary.
Water is more important to our bodies than food. While it’s true we can survive longer without food, going too long without water will cause your organs to shut down and eventually lead to death. It’s better to be safe than sorry so take the time to find pure water sources when possible. If you follow the steps above, you should have no problem staying hydrated.
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You walk up to the door and stop. You can hear noises coming from inside: laughter, loud talking… it sounds like a party.
“Hold on!” you hear a voice shout from behind you. “You’re gonna need a gun for this, kid.”
You turn around and see a middle-aged man jogging towards you. He’s balding and dressed in a dirty tank top, baggy cargo shorts and sandals. He’s carrying a 12-pack of beer by its neck.
In one swift motion he yanks a bottle of beer out of the cardboard carrier and pulls the tab off with his teeth. He takes a long swig, then says, “C’mon, I’ll do you a favor.”
You follow him around the side of the ticket building. There you see three motorcycles parked. A red Yamaha, a yellow Suzuki and a black Honda. The man hands you the half-empty beer, then pulls a black ski mask out of his back pocket and puts it on.
“A bike will make you faster,” he says, handing the beer back to you. “A gun will make you safer. Your choice.”
You take a long drink of beer, then set it down on the ground next to the yellow motorcycle.
The man pulls the ski mask down over your face, then yanks it back up. “Good. Nobody’ll recognize you like that.” He pulls the elastic over your head and stuffs it in your pocket.
He takes the beer from you and sets it down on the ground next to the yellow motorcycle. “You’ll be walkin’ home, kid.” With that, he climbs onto the yellow motorcycle and starts it up.
Which one is mine?”
The man points at the black Honda sitting to your right. “The keys are in the ignition. Just go around the side of the stadium when you’re done and I’ll meet you.”
He guns the engine, then backs the motorcycle into gear. You turn and watch him drive away.
Beside the yellow Suzuki sits a brick red backpack, zipped up and cinched tight. Next to it is a stack of papers. When you pick up the stack and glance at it, you recognize the batting order.
Before you can think too much about what to do next, you hear somebody shout in the distance. You look up and see a group of people–at least one of whom is a uniformed policeman–headed around the far side of the stadium toward you. You glance over your shoulder at the retreating figure of the man on the motorcycle and see that he’s already vanished behind some building. Three “options” present themselves to you:
You could go meet the approaching group and turn yourself in. They don’t look especially scary, after all. Plus, there’s that cop.
You could run away now and try to make it back to your house. You know every shortcut and backstreet in town, and the woods aren’t too far.
You could get on the motorcycle–which you now realize isn’t the red Yamaha you were expecting, but is instead the black Honda that was parked beside it–and try to make a getaway. There’s no doubt that the man who gave it to you planned this, so it should be ready to go. (You can only hope that any keys are in the ignition. If not, you’ll have to try to hot-wire it.)
You glance over your shoulder at the approaching group, now only a few yards away. You could try to hide, but that would only delay the inevitable.
What will you do?
– – – – – – – – – –
You decide to run away but, as you scramble up onto the black motorcycle, you drop the stack of papers–including the precious batting order–onto the ground. You have no choice now but to go.
Is there anything you can do to slow them down?
Head down and gunning the engine, you shoot past the group around third base and keep going. You hear shouting behind you but don’t dare look back, since you can’t see anything anyway with your head tucked down. After a couple of minutes of hard riding you pull into the driveway of a run-down house and cut the engine.
After checking to make sure they aren’t still coming after you, you sit there trying to catch your breath. You’re safe–for now.
But where are you? And more importantly, what are you going to do now?
The street you’re parked on looks both busy and run-down. The houses could do with a bit of work, and most cars would benefit from being washed once in a while. It’s obvious that you’re not in Brookdale anymore.
But where, exactly, are you?
The best thing would be to find a street sign, but what’s going to happen next is pretty obvious. The police are going to come and find you. That means you need to decide whether you’re going to try to run again or whether you’re going to submit to being arrested and deal with the consequences.
Of course, maybe you don’t have to deal with the police, exactly. You have until they get here before they start looking for you in earnest, and it’s not as if you have a record. You could turn yourself in at the police station, or even just call them to let them know you won’t be coming in to work today, and then take off again tonight.
There’s also the matter of that guy who ditched you.
Is there any way to track him down and find out more about what’s going on?
You only have his first name, but maybe the police could find out more with that.
Or you could just get out of town for a little while. Go someplace else and lay low until this all blows over. Maybe even use a different name.
Would the police be able to track you if you used your middle name instead?
There’s still time to decide what to do about the current situation. The important thing is to make a plan…
Sources & references used in this article:
A comparison of picking, storage, and routing policies in manual order picking by CG Petersen, G Aase – International Journal of Production Economics, 2004 – Elsevier
Postharvest logistics performance of fresh fig varieties in Turkey by B Ertan, H Şenkayas, Ö Tuncay – Scientia Horticulturae, 2019 – Elsevier
Comparison of Dried ʻSabzʼ fig (Ficus carica cv. Sabz) Harvesting, Drying, Disinfection, and Storage Methods by H Zare, H Jalili – International Journal of Fruit Science, 2020 – Taylor & Francis