Sweet and Nutritious: Fabulous Fresh Figs
Fresh figs are juicy, sweet, nutritious, and come in yellow, red, purple, or green striped varieties.
When figs are ripe, at a firm to tender stage, they make an excellent stand alone snack or can be used in recipes—peeled or unpeeled. Since they contain fructose (sugar) figs should be eaten in moderation.
Why Figs Are Good For You
Besides satisfying our sweet tooth, figs are full of fiber, vitamins K and B6, health-protective antioxidants, and they provide the minerals manganese, magnesium, copper, calcium, and potassium.
Eating high fiber foods helps regulate our digestive system. Our blood needs vitamin K to clot properly, and vitamin B6 supports the immune system, nerve function, the production of hemoglobin, and the break down of proteins. We need minerals such as calcium to maintain strong bones, and potassium to regulate blood pressure.
Together, the nutrients in fresh figs help regulate blood sugar levels, deter macular degeneration, kidney or liver problems, cancer, and support weight loss. It is no wonder that Mithradates the Great of Pontus - born 134 B.C. - demanded his people enjoy at least one fig each day to avoid illness.
Five Suggestions for Enjoying Fresh Figs
Fresh figs are perishable and should be kept refrigerated. Though they taste great on their own, you might also try the following fig-tastic ideas.
- Halve or quarter the figs, depending on their size, and top each piece with some chopped hazelnut or walnut. For extra sweetness, drizzle with honey.
- Add chopped fresh figs to leafy green, or cold green bean salads. Compliment the sweet fig flavor by adding a strong cheese such as shaved parmesan or blue cheese. Top with your favorite vinaigrette.
- Make a fig sandwich: spread butter, mustard, or fig jam on a couple slices of Italian or French bread. Put some leafy greens on one bread slice. On the remaining slice layer prosciutto, some cheese, sliced fresh figs, and then the other bread slice.
- Mix caramelized onions and goat cheese with chopped fig and spread it over bread or use as a sandwich filling.
- Cut figs in half and put them flesh side up on a baking sheet. Drizzle them with balsamic vinegar, honey, or olive oil, or sprinkle with brown sugar. Roast at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until they caramelize to your liking.
Interesting Fig Fact
Fig trees are small, 10 to 30 feet tall, and do best in dry, warm climates. Unlike most fruit trees, the fig never blossoms. The flowers are on the inside and leave behind tiny seeds that add to the fruit’s flavor and texture.