As with all delicious recipes, this lacto-fermented fig butter was the result of seasonal excess. Shopping with the seasons has so many benefits, with two of the most prominent being:
- Food is much cheaper when in season so saves you bucket loads
- Many of the foods each season arrive just in time to provide us with the nutrients we need to stay well at that particular time of year.
Figs are a great example. They are one of the richest sources of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, also showing great variety. This is needed during Autumn and Winter, as we look to increase our nutrient intake to help keep us well. Additionally, they’re an excellent source of insoluble fibre, which is wonderful for the gut. Increased fibre means a very nourished and diverse gut microbiome. That in turn means a healthy immune system given ~70%+ of it lies within the gut.
Historically, figs have been used medicinally to:
- Soothe a dry, inflamed sore throat
- Treat tonsillitis
- Aid shortness of breath
- Help you cough up any chest nasties – what we call, an expectorant (1)
Given the volume of fibre they contain they’re also excellent for constipation!
And if all that wasn’t enough, the fermentation process here also introduces beneficial strains of bacteria to the gut. So many reasons to love this, wouldn’t you say? This aside, fermentation of fruits and vegetables is the simplest and often the safest way of preserving food.
Please do keep in mind that figs, and fruit in general, will make very active ferments. This is because they’re higher in sugar than vegetables. It’s important that you don’t fill your jar to the rim before it sits out overnight to ferment. If you do, you will likely find it has puffed up and out of the jar all over your table! Do make sure you set the jar on a plate to keep your kitchen bench or dining table safe from spills.
What the best way to use this spread?
This is a deliciously sweet, sour spread that is great for toast, to match with cheese or to have on top of yoghurt. My absolute favourite way to enjoy it is as a topping for my sourdough pancakes. Be sure to give them a go.
Lacto-fermented fig, cinnamon + honey butterCourse: SpreadDifficulty: Easy
4 cups of fresh figs (see notes below before starting the recipe)
150ml fruit kvass (or either whey or water kefir)
4 Tbsp* raw honey
1/4 to 1/2 tsp of cinnamon (I love cinnamon so used 1/2)
- Wash the figs, remove the stems, cut into quarters and place into a blender.
- Add 120ml of the fruit kvass into the blender, then blend on high until the figs are smooth and very well blended.
- Transfer to a large jar leaving plenty of headspace. I would suggest leaving at least the top 1/4 free. This allows for expansion as the fig puree ferments.
- Add the extra 30ml of fruit kvass on top to cover the puree, put the lid on the jar and sit it on a plate then leave to ferment at room temperature for 1-2 days. Taste it after the first 24 hours and see what you think. If you’d like it a little more sour leave it another 12-24 hours.
- Once ready, transfer the fermented fig puree into a blender, add in the honey and cinnamon and blend until smooth (just a few seconds).
- Put the fermented fig, cinnamon and honey butter into a clean jar, clean the rim and put the lid on. Store it in the fridge for up to 3 months (or more!).
- The number of figs used is really going to depend on fig size. 4 cups for me was roughly 20 figs. I cut them into quarters before measuring so I could fit a little more into the cup.
- * I use an Australian Tbsp, which is 20ml
1. Figs: The Genus Ficcus by By Ephraim Philip Lansky and Helena Maaria Paavilainen