Fig Jam Love

Fig Jam Experiment

We have a fig tree in our backyard. This summer I finally decided to use our beautiful figs. Our tree produces thousands of figs every summer, which has always overwhelmed me. However, this year I decided I would try an experiment. Although, our tree produces thousands, I picked close to 700 figs! I made several batches of fig jam, to give out to my family and friends. I had a lot of fun with it. If you’re up for making a sticky mess, check out this recipe.

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 pounds green or purple figs, stemmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • about 120-130 figs
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups water

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

  1. In a large, nonreactive saucepan, toss the fig pieces with the sugar and let stand, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until the sugar is mostly dissolved and the figs are juicy.
  2. Add the lemon juice and water and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Simmer the fig jam over moderate heat. Occasionally, stir until the fruit is soft and the liquid runs off the side of a spoon in thick, heavy drops, about 45 minutes.
  3. Once it’s boiling, I filtered out the seeds on top to remove the majority. Of course, it’s nearly impossible to remove them all.
  4. Spoon the jam into three 1/2-pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch of space at the top. Close the jars and let cool to room temperature. Store the jam in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

 

Variation: Substitute 1/2 cup of white port for the water and add one 4-inch sprig of rosemary with the lemon juice; discard the rosemary before jarring.

 

I found this recipe on Food and Wine! Check out their website for more amazing recipes!

Theories and Predictions

Theories on Culture

Every culture has differences, as shown in Human, a film by Yann Arthus-Bertrand. Each individual has their own needs, goals, and hardships. Proving we all have the ability to create, to preserve, and to evolve. However, vast economic inequality creates winners and losers. For the global South, the terms of the global market are not in the interests of preservation of humanity. Instead, as Emmanuel Wallerstein suggests, nations with lower gross domestic product are economically dependent on the top producing countries.

In many instances, Neocolonialism still holds a firm grasp on development efforts in poor countries. If we focused on localization and created trade networks through social media channels, societies could have the ability to focus on preserving their heritage through economic growth. There are various factors working against heritage preservation, but with the rise of the information age, one of the biggest factors is that heritage preservation efforts have almost no way of accumulating any capital. In terms of heritage arts, they simply cannot be produced without any demand.

Max Weber’s Theories

Max Weber spent his life analyzing capitalism. As he grew out of the industrial revolution, he had witnessed the aristocracies of his time, as he watched them be replaced by the bosses of the new capitalist economic system. He believed the spirit of capitalism was a direct result of Protestantism and Calvinism. He viewed followers of these religions as bearing an immense amount of shame, assuming anxious positions to please the judging eye of a silent monolith. Weber’s writings on the Protestant Work Ethic stated that Protestants value working hard as a way to please their god. This ideology translates into Protestants working continuously; earnest to prove their holiness.

Protestantism blend in Capitalism

Unlike Catholics, Protestants believed any profession could be holy. As long as it is done “in the name of God”, and with a lot of hard work. Weber viewed these ideologies, along with the Protestant belief that there are no miracles. The perfect concoction for capitalism to take root. Through hard work, and the absence of miracles, people began to rely more heavily on science. This led to breakthroughs in technology, which furthered industrialization and the ability to make more products faster. In time, this process created consumerism in humans. As well as climate degradation on the Earth. One can see an obvious path back to Weber’s analysis.

If Weber were alive today, he would undoubtedly argue against economic foreign aid. He would argue that economic capitalist intervention will never work in societies with traditionally different societal structures and religions. Could this be true? Research suggests societies without this inherent anxiousness, one may not adapt well to capitalism. In fact, societies dictated by any strict religious principles other than Protestantism, would probably not achieve capitalism with the same amount of economic “success”. However, in order to view the U.S. version of capitalism as successful, one must disregard the countless lives lost to the industrialization of peripheral countries.

Modern Take on Capitalism

In Thomas Piketty’s, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, he states, “Modern economic growth and the diffusion of knowledge have made it possible to avoid the Marxist apocalypse but have not modified the deep structures of capital and inequality—or in any case not as much as one might have imagined in the optimistic decades following World War II.”

I agree with this point about the diffusion of knowledge. In fact, without the internet completely changing the landscape of the global market, one could theorize that the downfall of capitalism would have already happened. Yet it will be our adaptability, and willingness to evolve, that will save or destroy nations on the brink of change.

What’s Next

Currently, our society can easily relate to the research and predictions of Marx and Weber. Marx offered a fair prediction of consumerism and it’s hold on society. Our proof he was right lies in the countless brawls of Black Friday sales, and the “fashion hauls” of white teenage girls on Youtube.com. However, the real question remains; how does this negatively effect our human qualities? Since it is proven that some people are so poor, all they have is money, is it too late to stop consuming?

 

 

“Frugality is founded on the principal that all riches have limits.”

-Edmund Burke

Preserving Heritage Arts in a Consumer Industry

Research

Kiowa Girl, portrait by Edward S. Curtis

Identity and cultural heritage are two topics I have been intrigued to research. I’ve wondered, how can we continue preserving our heritage in an ever-changing world? Especially, when it comes to fast fashion. I realized how relevant identity is after reading the work of Karl Marx. Although, not all of his predictions have played out yet, some striking evidence of his theories proved true in the film True Cost. The film made me think of my own career goals in the fashion industry. I want to create a way to equip designers and artisans in the developing world to be able to innovate and collaborate with one another.

I aspire to build an online platform for a designer showroom. It could be my way of preserving international artisans by displaying their work. Work in this field is already being done. Organizations like Social Tailor, retailers like People Tree, and a myriad of social media activists already are doing their part.

Then I realized, if we continue down this path of constant work, Weber’s Protestant Work Ethic, is aiding emerging designers in developing countries actually helping or hindering their society? Which internal faults has our society developed due to capitalism, consumerism, and the fetishism of commodities? What affects have consumerism had on our society? If Marx was right about the consumerism, how should social entrepreneurs respond?

I love researching heritage and the preservation of indigenous designs. Many of my career goals are fashion focused, which is why cultural heritage intrigues me. Thus, researching why and how to promote preservation ideals furthers a deeper understanding of my personal goals. Historically, clothing has been worn as a symbol of identity, which is why I chose to focus my research on historic costume.

Photographer in the West

In the early 1900s, photographer Edward S. Curtis created a commercial photography project highlighting the importance on Native American heritage rituals and costume. Curtis said, “The passing of every old man or woman means the passing of some tradition, some knowledge of sacred rites possessed by no other. Consequently the information that is to be gathered, for the benefit of future generations, respecting the mode of life of one of the great races of mankind, must be collected at once or the opportunity will be lost for all time.”

Curtis was urged to capture on film the great life of Native Americans, because his research predicted their severe loss of heritage. His photographs served as a small way of preserving the Native American lifestyle. Efforts like this happen all over the world, but the driving factor in heritage preservation is the sense of loss. Humans want to remember their history because it gives them a sense of belonging. If we cannot remember our history, we risk repeating our mistakes.