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If it’s Simply Southern, it has to be wonderful

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I was born and reared in Kentucky, resided in Georgia for 17 years and now Florida for eight. There’s no question I am a Southern girl through and through.

That fact has always been obvious, especially when I was with  family and friends who lived in the North. They laughed at my accent and marveled at the way we did things in the South.

But I didn’t change. I love the South and all the customs, traditions and foods it has to offer and that makes it a truly unique place to live, work and  play–something I do by choice, not coincidence or obligation.

This is the inaugural column, Simply Southern, and each month on the last Thursday it will showcase those things that are unique to the South.

I hope it will be reader-driven as you share those things which make the South the South, whether it’s a food that is primarily served here (think field peas or chicken and dumplings) or a tradition that has been handed down in your family for generations.

Pause and think about it–there’s so much that only happens in the South and it needs to be shared and preserved.

E-mail your ideas or comments to me at editor@willistonpioneer.com. I’ll take what you share and elaborate on it for the next Simply Southern Oct. 31. Maybe it’s something to do with Halloween that’s only done in the South.

This month’s feature is on Faux Strawberry Preserves. Why are they fake? Because strawberries aren’t used in them. That’s right, some of the best preserves you’ve ever smothered on a hot biscuit can be made using a Southern, by way of the Middle East,  fruit–the fig.

Grown predominately in warm climates, the tasty fig is generous in both iron and calcium and is low in fat.

Williston’s Emily King has been making the preserves for about 15 years. The recipe she uses, she said, came from her mother.

“I have made two batches this summer,” King said.  “My recipe makes three pints but I use 1/2 pint jars therefore a yield of 6 jars.” 

Here’s how:

3 cups of clean, mashed figs

2 small boxes strawberry Jell-o

3 cups sugar. 

Mix all ingredients well then cook over medium heat until boiling and mixture thickens.  Fill sterilized jars and seal with canning lids.  No water bath is needed.

Voila! There you have it. A homemade treat that’s surely Simply Southern.

Be sure to e-mail your ideas to editor@willistonpioneer.com today.