Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Almost Time For Figs

This is the time of year when I would really like to have a fig tree.  All my local trees are just FULL of plump, green fruit and I know it's only a matter of time before they are ripe and ready to eat.

Figs are among the easiest fruit crops to grow here in Fort Bend County.  They are widely adapted throughout Texas, tolerate various soil conditions, and are almost always pest-free.  They require neither winter chill nor winter protection, and only need pruning for size and shape.  Figs produce fruit without cross-pollinators and rarely need fertilization.  Look for "closed eye: varieties like Celeste, Alma, LSU Gold, LSU Purple and Texas Everbearing.  Make sure to provide plenty of water during the summer.  Even the slightest bit of drought stress can cause trees to drop their fruit.  Mulching heavily all the way to the drip line to help relieve summer water stress.  Figs produce crops within a year or two of planting -- my kind of fruit tree!

What to do with figs?  Fig preserves, of course!

Mix 3 cups cut or mashed figs, 3 cups sugar and 2 3-oz packages of berry-flavored gelatin.  Cook for about 25 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened.  Line jars with thin slices of lemon or short cinnamon sticks.  Ladle preserves into jars, leaving a half-inch headroom at the top.  Seal and process as desired.


  1. Brown Turkey is the fig that does well in Virginia. I adore figs and I look forward to making my very first fig preserves with your easy recipe.

  2. Good luck -- as soon as I find a place I can steal (I mean, er, liberate) some, I'm going to make them too!

  3. Be sure to keep your figs secure: