THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods


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Herb-, Fruit- & Spice-Coated Goat Cheese Log Recipes


[1] An “everything” goat cheese log (all photos © Vermont Creamery).


[2] Serve any seasoned cheese log on a cheese board, or as an optional add-on to the salad course. You can buy an everything log ready-to-serve from Vermont Creamery, or season your own plain log.


[3] One of the 8 varieties of seasonings you can use on a log or cheese ball. Here, dried cranberries, sultanas, rosemary, and orange zest (the recipe).


[4] Fresh herb and nut cheese ball


[5] Clover honey-flavored goat cheese, one of Vermont Creamery’s seven goat cheese log varieties.


[6] Smoky pepper jelly-topped goat cheese log, another of Vermont Creamery’s seven goat cheese log varieties.


[7] Thank you, ladies!

 

If you love goat cheese, this tip’s for you. You can take a plain goat cheese log, roll it in your favorite herbs and spices, and add eye appeal to your cheese board. You can combine your favorite spices and herbs to create, for example, an:

  • Everything Goat Cheese Log, with everything bagel seasonings (garlic, poppyseed, sesame, etc.—photos #1 and #2)
  • Herbed Goat Cheese Log, with your favorite fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, dill, parsley, rosemary, thyme, etc.) and optional nuts (recipe—photo #4)
  • Holiday Goat Cheese Log, one log with red herbs and spices, one log with green
  • Hot Goat Cheese Log, with cayenne, chipotle, fresh minced jalapeño, peppercorns (black, green, pink), etc.
  • Fruity Goat Cheese Log, with dried cherries, cranberries, raisins and sultanas and optional freeze-dried raspberries (recipe—photo #3)
  • International Goat Cheese Log, with herbs and spices from a particular cuisine (France, Greece, India, Middle East, etc.)
  • Nutty Goat Cheese Log, with assorted chopped nuts, optional fresh herbs and dried berries/raisins (recipe)
  • Valentine Goat Cheese Log, with dried cherries, dried cranberries and freeze-dried raspberries
  •  
    No doubt there are more options, but these are the ones we made.

    TRIVIA: What countries eat the most cheese? See the top curd lovers below.
     
     
    HOW TO SEASON GOAT CHEESE LOGS

    The ingredients are simple: goat cheese log(s) and seasonings of choice.

    To make the everything bagel goat cheese log, you can purchase everything bagel seasoning, or mix your own from black and white sesame seeds, dried minced garlic and onion, poppy seeds, and fine sea salt.

    1. PLACE a few tablespoons of seasonings on a flat plate or a piece of wax paper or parchment.

    2. ROLL the goat cheese log in the seasoning to cover the entire log. As necessary, press the seasoning into the log. If you need more coverage, place more seasoning on the plate and continue to roll.

    3. WRAP the log in wax paper or parchment and twist the ends to seal. Refrigerate until ready to use.
     
     
    VERMONT CREAMERY GOAT CHEESE

    One of our favorite American cheese companies, Vermont Creamery has been making exquisite fresh and aged goat cheeses, cultured butter, and other dairy products (crème fraîche, mascarpone, sour cream, quark).

    They are truly wonderful products. One item in the line, goat cheese logs, are available in:

  • Classic Goat Cheese
  • Clover Blossom Honey Goat Cheese (photo #5)
  • Cranberry, Orange & Cinnamon Goat Cheese
  • Everything Goat Cheese (photos #1 and #2)
  • Herb Goat Cheese
  • Smoky Pepper Jelly Goat Cheese
  • Wild Blueberry, Lemon & Thyme Goat Cheese
  •  
    Each of these is absolutely delicious, and we can eat an entire 4-ounce portion for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

    That’s how much we love goat cheese and Vermont Creamery goat cheeses in particular.

    See them all, plus a store locator, at VermontCreamery.com.

    While we prefer Vermont Creamery’s moister, creamier, artisan goat cheese logs, you can purchase less expensive mass-produced logs at Trader Joe’s, Aldi and other markets, and roll your own.
     
     
    CHEESE TRIVIA: WHAT COUNTRY EATS THE MOST CHEESE?

    Our immediate reaction was “France,” but we were surprised at these statistics:

  • 1. Denmark takes top honors. The country consumes 28.1 kilograms of cheese consumption per capita. That’s 62 pounds!
  • 2. Iceland is second, with 27.7 kilograms.
  • 3. Finland is third, with 27.3 kilograms.
  • 4. France is a close fourth, with 27.2 kilograms.
  • 5. Cyprus rounds off the top 5, with 26.7 kilograms.
     
    Next up:

  • 6. Germany, 24.7 kilograms per capita.
  • 7. Switzerland, 22.2 kilograms
  • 8. The Netherlands, 21.6 kilograms.
  • 9. Italy, is the ninth highest consumer of cheese at 21.5 kilograms
  • 10. Austria, at 21.1 kilograms
  • 11. Sweden, is at position eleven with a consumption of 20.5 kilograms
  • 12. Estonia, at 20.0 kilograms
  • 13. Latvia, 19.8kilograms
  • 14. Norway, 19.8kilograms
  • 15. Israel, 18.9kilograms
  • 16. United States, 16.8 kilograms/37 pounds.
     
    The top 3 cheese-consuming states in the U.S. are Wisconsin, California, and Idaho; Wisconsin and California are the two largest cheese-producing states).
     
    The top consumers of cheese are mainly countries in colder regions. This is mainly because cheese can be chilled and preserved for future use. People living in cold weather requires high protein levels, which cheese provides [source].
     
     
    > THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CHEESE
     
     
    > THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF GOAT CHEESE
     
     
    > THE HISTORY OF CHEESE
     
     
    > THE HISTORY OF CHEESE BALLS
  •  

     

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    Cappuccino Cheesecake Recipe For National Cappuccino Day

    National Cappuccino Day is November 8th. We’ve already had two cups of it, and wish we’d already made this no-bake cappuccino cheesecake. The recipe is by Heather Baird of Sprinkle Bakes, developed by Go Bold With Butter, a great recipe website where everything is tested and dee-licious.

    This cheesecake is light, creamy, and not overly sweet. And, let us repeat: It’s no-bake!

    The recipe is egg-free; the filling is set with gelatin.

    The instant espresso powder in the recipe gives the cheesecake a more pronounced coffee flavor. If you can’t get hold of it, you can substitute instant coffee granules.

    There are more cappuccino recipes below.
     
     
    RECIPE: NO-BAKE CAPPUCCINO CHEESECAKE

    Prep time is 30 minutes, cook time is 30 minutes.
     
    Ingredients For The Crust

  • 1 cup finely crushed shortbread cookies
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  •  
    For the Filling

  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • .25 ounce (1 envelope) unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 24 ounces (3 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, softened
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 2 cups whipped cream (consider stabilized whipped cream)
  • Garnish: cinnamon
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the crust. Stir together the shortbread crumbs and melted butter until the crumbs resemble wet sand. Press the mixture evenly onto the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Place the pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

    2. POUR the milk into a small saucepan and sprinkle the powdered gelatin evenly over the surface. Let stand for 2 minutes. Place the pan over low heat and cook while stirring just until the gelatin is dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

    3. BEAT the cream cheese in a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment at medium speed until smooth. Beat in the sour cream, sugar and vanilla until well mixed; gradually beat in the gelatin mixture.

    4. COMBINE the instant espresso powder with 1-1/2 tablespoons of hot water; stir until dissolved. Gradually add the coffee mixture into the cheesecake batter.

    5. REMOVE the pan from the refrigerator. Spoon the batter over the crust and spread evenly. Cover and chill until set, about 4 hours. To serve, loosen the cheesecake from the sides of springform pan using a small knife or an offset spatula. Remove the springform collar (sides).

    6. PIPE or spread whipped cream over the top of the cheesecake and sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired. However, if you will not be serving all of the cheesecake within a couple of hours, consider stabilized whipped cream, which will not collapse. Whipped cream can be piped on top of the cheesecake in a spiral using a piping bag and a plain 1/2-inch decorator tip, or you can swirl it on using an offset spatula.

    7. STORE the cheesecake in the refrigerator.

     
     
    MORE CAPPUCCINO RECIPES

  • Cappuccino Noodle Kugel
  • Frozen Cappuccino Soufflé
  • Cappuccino Cocktail
  • Snowman Cappuccino
  •  
     
    > THE HISTORY OF CAPPUCCINO

    > THE HISTORY OF ESPRESSO

    > THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF ESPRESSO DRINKS

     


    [1] Cappuccino cheesecake (photos £1 and #2 © Heather Baird | Go Bold With Butter).


    [2] This is a no-bake cheesecake!


    [3] Enjoy a slice with a hot or iced cappuccino (photo © The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf).


    [4] A frozen cappuccino soufflé. Here’s the recipe (photo © Etoile | Chandon).

     

     

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    Fix & Fogg Nut Butters: Delicious For Your Pantry & Gifts


    [1] >Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter has chocolate richness with no added sugar (all photos © Fix & Fogg).


    [2] Everything Butter, a blend of 8 nuts and seeds, is a multiple award winner.


    [3] Cashew Butter is available in Creamy and Oaty Nut Butter.


    [4] Chocolate Hazelnut Butter is an epicure’s version of Nutella.

    [5] Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Toast is garnished with granola clusters and freeze-dried raspberries. You can also add a layer of jam or a drizzle of maple syrup or date syrup.


    [6] These No Bake Peanut Butter Bars are made with Smooth Peanut Butter topped with dried raspberries; but we made ours with Hot & Smoky Peanut Butter and chopped peanuts.


    [7] These peanut butter and jelly cups are so much better with F&F PB.


    [8] Stuffed sweet potatoes with black beans, corn, avocado and cashew butter-yogurt sauce.


    [9] Everything butter pesto: a dip, a sandwich spread, a base for a salad dressing.Here’s the recipe.

     

    What happens when two corporate lawyers in New Zealand decide to leave corporate life? If they’re foodies with great palates, they choose to make artisan food that’s sustainable, and delicious. They decided to make Fix & Fogg, “the world’s best nut butters.”

    Now, the title of “the world’s best” isn’t an absolute except, perhaps, in athletic competitions. But Fix & Fogg nut butters—almond, cashew, hazelnut, and peanut—have won awards worldwide.

    And while we’ve only tasted artisan nut butters from the U.S. until now, Fix & Fogg are certainly on the podium at The Nibble’s award ceremony.

    Personally, peanut butter is our favorite nut butter. We’ve tasted our share of good artisan PBs, but Fix & Fogg is beyond good, very good, even excellent: It’s exciting peanut butter.

    It made us say WOW after the first spoonful, and immediately scrap that evening’s dinner menu for several protein-rich tablespoons of F&F.

    That’s why Fix & Fogg is our Top Pick Of The Week: delicious on your table and a delicious small gift and stocking stuffer (or a box of four jars).
     
     
    WHAT MAKES FIX & FOGG SO VERY GOOD?

  • Quality, quality, quality.
  • No added sugar, palm oil or additives.
  • Superb texture/consistency.
  • No sugar added†.
  • Something we have to call magic.
  •  
    Because our favorite nut butter is peanut, we didn’t try almond and cashew. The peanut butter flavors we tried were outstanding. The Coffee & Maple PB has the crunch of ground coffee beans in addition to ground peanuts. What a delight!

    We’ll keep these three flavors, plus Smooth and Crunchy flavors, stocked in our pantry going forward.
     
     
    THE FIX & FOGG LINE

    There are different variations of almond, cashew, hazelnut and peanut butters. Each one we tried was superb.

    One reason the peanut butter may be so better than other artisan PBs we’ve enjoyed: They’re hi-oleic peanuts. We’d never heard the term before, but here’s what we now know, in the footnote* below..

  • Almond Butter: Cashew And Maple, Chocolate, Crunchy, Smooth
  • Cashew Butter: Creamy
  • Everything Butter: 8 nuts and seeds—almond, chia, flaxseed, hemp, peanut, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower
  • Hazelnut Butter: Chocolate
  • Oaty Nut Butter: toasted oats, cashew nuts, coconut, sunflower seeds, chia seeds and peanuts
  • Peanut Butter: Coffee And Maple, Dark Chocolate, Smoke And Fire, Smooth, Super Crunchy
  •  
    A note: the chocolate butters—peanut and hazelnut—are not sweet. Don’t expect Nutella. The chocolate provides an almost savory richness—the nut butters have a small amount of added sugar, but are not sweet.

    The Smoke And Fire is nicely smoky and tingly: not a heavy hand of either. As Goldilocks said about the third bowl of porridge: “Just right.”
     
     
    HOW TO USE THE NUT BUTTERS

    We know that you need no advice in order to spread nut butter on a sandwich and eat it straight from the jar. Have you tried it in dessert sauces, savory sauces, and dips?

    If you’ve never cooked or baked with nut butter, F&F will inspire you. There are also plenty of recipes: for blondies, bowls, cookies, crumbles, muffins, noodles, scones, and much more.

    You can download the e-book of 75 recipes.

    We’ve already dug into:

  • Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Toast (photo #5)
  • No Bake Peanut Butter Bars (photo #6)
  • Peanut Butter & Jelly Cups (photo #7)
  • Pad Thai
  • Peanut Butter Rocky Road
  • Stuffed Sweet Potato (photo #8)
  •  
    You can peruse the recipes on the website if you don’t want to download the e-book.
     
     
    GET YOUR F&F

    Head to the Fix & Fogg website for the best selection.

    There are currently six flavors on Amazon.

    Try any of the retail stores: Central Market, Fresh Direct, Sprouts, Gelson’s, Kings, Market Of Choice, Streets Market, Thrive Market, United Supermarkets, and Whole Foods Market. (But again, for the largest selection, go to F&F directly).

    Stock up for yourself, for stocking stuffers, teacher gifts, and mini gifts to hand out year-round.
     
     
    ABOUT FIX & FOGG

    The name Fix & Fogg comes from two characters from the classic 1873 adventure novel, Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne: Phileas Fogg and Detective Fix. Like the story, the idea of embarking on a great journey, taking risks, and trying new things, resonated with F&F’s founders.

    “Although we’re not quite sold in 80 countries around the world,” they say, “maybe one day we could do just that.”

    Beyond New Zealand and Australia, the brand has sailed to China, the Philippines, Samoa, Singapore, Tahiti and the U.S.

    Come on Canada! Come on Europe! Come on Latin America, where the peanut and cashew originated. Great nut butters await you!

    Toward their sustainability goals, Fix & Fogg is the first New Zealand-owned food manufacturer to be awarded B Corp certification.

    B Corporations are businesses that act in ways that benefit society as a whole. B stands for beneficial.

    What defines B Corporations is their belief that the purpose of a company is not just to make money, but to also do social and environmental good.

    B Corp entrepreneurs are committed to a vision of using their businesses as forces for good: for inclusive, environmentally-sustainable prosperity. You can profit while doing good.

    The B Corp certification was launched a decade ago. More than 2,200 companies in more than 50 countries are now certified. Here’s more about them.
     
     
    > THE HISTORY OF PEANUT BUTTER

    > THE HISTORY OF PEANUTS

    > THE HISTORY OF ALMONDS

    > THE HISTORY OF CASHEWS

     
    ________________

    *Hi oleic peanuts are known as “long-life” peanuts. They are only grown in a few places around the world. There’s a natural substitution of oleic acid for linoleic acid, which provides a much longer shelf-life. These are non-GMO; there is no molecular manipulation involved in this process at all. It’s all conventional breeding. Hi oleic peanuts stay crunchy and taste great for up to 10 times longer after roasting than regular peanuts. They’re also higher in monounsaturated or “good” fats. Here’s more about them. At this time, there are no other hi-oleic nuts.

    †There are small amounts of sugar in the chocolate flavors and small amounts of maple syrup in the maple flavors.
     

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    Pumpkin Spice Popcorn Bars Recipe For Seasonal Snacking

    We remember the days when party guests went home with one small party favor. That got exploded into gift bags. But we think that less is more, so we tend to send guests home with a few homemade cookies or a slice of pie. This year, while there will certainly be pie “to go,” they’re also getting a pumpkin Pie Spice Popcorn Bar.

    The flavors of the season—pumpkin spice, dried cranberries, pecans—are blended into a snack bar with popcorn, marshmallows, and white chocolate.

    Wait a minute: Why do we say “bar,” when the recipe is called “bark?”

    With all due respect, some people who write recipes often give names that they feel make it sound more exciting or more relatable, even though it may be inaccurate (and sometimes they don’t realize that it’s inaccurate—see the footnote for examples).

    This is a popcorn snack bar. The original name of the recipe, from the Popcorn Board, is popcorn bark.

    However, bark is a sheet of chocolate, often covered with nuts, dried fruits, candies, or even additional pieces of chocolate; then broken into pieces. This pan of popcorn is cut into proper squares.

    Call it a bar or bark, we’re making it as gifts for our Thanksgiving guests to take home. (Because as stuffed as they may be as they walk out the door, they’re happy to have a treat for the following day.)

    We purchased these pretty snack bags as packaging.

    Don’t want to make popcorn bars?

    Here are more pumpkin snacks and desserts.
     
     
    RECIPE: PUMPKIN SPICE POPCORN BARK

    Ingredients For 12 Three-Inch Squares

  • 3 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup Cheerios or other “O”-shaped crisp cereal
  • 1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds, unshelled, salted or unsalted) or unshelled sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice mix
  • 2 packages (6 ounces each) white baking chocolate, chopped*
  •  
    Preparation

    1. LINE a large baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray; set aside.

    2. COMBINE in a large bowl, the popcorn, marshmallows, pecans, cereal, pepitas, dried cranberries and pumpkin spice mix.

    3. PLACE the chopped chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir to combine; then microwave an additional minute. Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

    4. POUR the melted chocolate over the popcorn mixture. Mix until well coated and spread in an even layer into the prepared pan. Cool at room temperature until firm (or refrigerate).

    5. CUT into squares to serve. Store in an airtight container.
     
     
    > THE HISTORY OF POPCORN
     
     
    > THE HISTORY OF MARSHMALLOWS
     
     
    > THE HISTORY OF CHOCOLATE

    ________________

    *One example is a Welsh Rarebit. Its proper name is Welsh Rabbit, because it was a meatless dish made with melted cheese on toast, easy to make when the hunter of the house failed to come home with any game for dinner. It was changed to “rarebit” to sound more appealing to Americans. A related recipe that never crossed the pond is Scotch Woodcock, which is scrambled eggs on buttered toast spread with anchovy paste.

    But if you like anchovy paste, doesn’t it sound delicious?

    More misnomers: Cheesecake is not a cake but a cheese custard pie. Boston cream pie is not a pie but a layer cake—and don’t spell it “creme,” which is an American attempt to make a dessert sound more elegant. “Crème” is a French word pronounced KREM, not CREEM. Rocky Mountain Oysters are the testicles of calves, goats, or sheep. Prairie oysters are bull testicles.

    On another note: Yams are a totally different tuber than sweet potatoes (the difference). The animal that roams the American West and ends up in the meat case is bison, not buffalo (the difference). Peanuts are not nuts but legumes (in the same family as peas and lentils). Cashews are not nuts, but seeds. And so on and so on.

    †In some recipes you can substitute three tablespoons of white chocolate chips to replace one ounce of white baking chocolate. However, do not substitute in this recipe or others that call for melting the white chocolate. Chocolate chips contain less cocoa butter than baking chocolate or chocolate bars, and have added stabilizers to help them keep their shape in the oven.

     


    [1] Pumpkin spice popcorn bark (photo © Popcorn Board).


    [2] You can pop your own or buy it popped (photo © Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog).


    [3] Pecans are delicious in this recipe, but if you need to omit nuts, make it up with more cranberries and marshmallows. If it’s for Halloween, you can substitute candy corn. Or if you just don’t like pecans, pistachios are a delicious substitute (photo © American Pecan Council).


    [4] Even though we’re not vegan, we think that Dandies vegan marshmallows taste better than the big supermarket names (photo © Dandies).


    [5] Although this bar isn’t health food, both the popcorn and the Cheerios are whole grain foods (photo © Annette Gulick | Stock Xchange).

     

     

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    Pickled Figs Recipe, A Condiment, Snack, & Food Gift


    [1] You can use both green and purple figs in this recipe. A combination is more alluring (all photos © California Figs).


    [2] Kadota figs keep their color when pickled.


    [3] Mission figs, combined with Kadota figs, give the jar of pickled figs more eye appeal.


    [4] All figs, be they fresh, dried or picked, can be variously paired as cocktail garnishes Here’s the recipe.

     

    We’re almost at the end of National Fig Week, the first week of November. We’ve provided plenty of fig recipes, but we saved this one for the end. It sounds unusual—pickled figs—but it’s a delicious condiment and snack. The figs aren’t sour, they’re sweet-tart, somewhat like a sweet gherkin. It’s a charming gift to bring to Thanksgiving hosts, or those who host us at any time of the year. Thanks to California Figs for the recipe.
     
    Because this recipe makes 8 pint jars that will last for 5 days in the fridge, plan to whom you’ll give them.

    Truth to tell, we consumed three of the jars in one week, and we were sorry we didn’t keep more of the jars. We ran out of time to make more: Fig season is May through November.

    The recipe is below, but first:
     
     
    USES FOR PICKLED FIGS

    First and foremost, pickled figs are a condiment. But you’ll see other uses on this list.

  • As a cocktail garnish, especially a Martini or a Bloody Mary and its variations.
  • As a garnish with ham, pork, turkey, or game meats.
  • Atop a green salad, sliced.
  • On a charcuterie board.
  • Simply eaten as a snack (dare we say, eaten from the jar).
  • With pâté.
  • With sandwiches: cheese, chicken salad, grilled vegetables, ham, turkey.
  • With soft or hard cheeses.
  •  
    Once you taste them, your palate will lead you to even more ideas.

     
    RECIPE: SPICED PICKLED FIGS

    Tips:

  • You can use any fig variety, but if you can, try Kadota figs. Or, mix them with Mission figs, for more eye appeal.
  • You can add additional spices. Allspice, cardamom, and ginger are options to include with or instead of the cinnamon and cloves.
  • You can use balsamic vinegar, or half balsamic, half white vinegar.
  • Some recipes use honey instead of sugar.
  •  
    Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 20 minutes.

    Ingredients For 8 Pints

  • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
  • 6 quarts ripe California figs (about 8 pounds)
  • 8 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 quart distilled white vinegar (we substituted cider vinegar)
  • 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 8 sterilized pint jars
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE 1 gallon of water with tablespoon salt. Add the figs. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 15 minutes.

    2. COMBINE the brown sugar and vinegar in a large nonreactive pan and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Add the cinnamon and cloves.

    3. DRAIN the figs well, add to the boiling syrup, and adjust the heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer for 1 hour, until the figs are soft and surround by a thick syrup. Carefully discard the cinnamon stick.

    4. PACK the hot figs into 8 sterilized pint jars, adding hot syrup to cover. Cover the jars with the sterilized lids and cool completely before using the figs. Store unused figs in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.
     
    > THE HISTORY OF FIGS

     

     

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