Aug 292011

figsDid you know that figs are ridiculously high in nutrition?  Figs have nutrients that fit in perfectly with today’s healthy, and busy, lifestyles.  Providing more fiber than any other common fruit or vegetable, figs also contain more calcium, more potassium and more iron than most other fruits. If you’ve never experienced the fig beyond a chewy newton, I highly suggest you do.  Those are NOTHING like a fresh fig.  A fresh fig tastes like a mix of a peach and a strawberry.

Figs are originally from Asia and are one of the first fruits cultivated ever. The Greeks mention them around 60 A.C. and Plato promoted the fig as being the nutrition for athletes. A story is known of the Greek government that it had forbidden all export of figs once to assure themselves a good outcome at The Olympic Games. Today there are more than 600 different fig types.  The most common varieties are Brown Turkey, Celeste, Calimyrna, Black Mission, and Kadota.

What is the nutrient value in figs?

Fresh and dried figs fit right into the “More Is Better” menus from the Produce for Better Health Foundation. Known for their fiber content Figs also contain disease-fighting antioxidants, and have no fat, no sodium, and no cholesterol.

One fresh fig contains approximately 47 calories, 2 grams of fiber, and 10 grams of sugars.

One quarter cup serving of dried figs provides approximately 120 calories,  5.5 grams of fiber, (almost 25% of the daily recommended value), and 18 grams of sugars.

Fun Fig Facts:

  • Although considered a fruit, the fig is actually a flower that is inverted into itself.
  • The rubber plant is a species of the fig plant.
  • The fig tree is the symbol of abundance, fertility, and sweetness, and it is said that humans could live on figs alone.
  • Because of its high alkalinity it has been mentioned as being beneficial to persons wishing to quit smoking.
  • Figs contain a natural humectant — a chemical that will extend freshness and moistness in baked products.
  • Figs provide more fiber than any other common fruit or vegetable. The fiber in figs is both soluble and insoluble. Both types of fiber are important for good health.

How to choose and eat a fresh fig:

When choosing your figs, be sure they are soft, like a peach, but not mushy. Figs do not ripen once picked. They should smell slightly sweet and never sour.

Figs have very delicate skin, so wash them gently with cool water and carefully remove the stem with a knife. The entire fig is edible so there is no need to cut, peel or seed them before eating. Simply take one in your hand and enjoy!

Prosciutto wrapped figsInteresting ways to use figs:

  • Strawberries, Figs, and Balsamic vinegar – Hull and half one pint strawberries, quarter four figs, and toss with 2 T. Balsamic vinegar and l tsp. sugar.  Divide among 4 dishes and enjoy.
  • Blend low-fat cream, ricotta or cottage cheese with some California Figs to create a great spread for toast or bagels or as a dip for sliced fresh fruit.
  • Add chopped figs to your rice or couscous.
  • Instead of grabbing raisins or cranberries for your oatmeal, think figs.  They have more fiber and more staying power.

Figs can also be used as an addition to cakes, breads, pies, puddings or tarts. In recipes, they can be used as a substitute for any dried fruits.  You can picke them, candy them, and freeze them!

Fresh figs peak in September, so NOW is the time to enjoy these syrupy delicacies.

Try this delicious recipe for Prosciutto Wrapped Stuffed Figs.

  2 Responses to “Figs – the Fitness Fruit”

  1. the figs in my mothers backyard, picacho az. are ripe ready in july,and last through the whole month.get em while there hot!

  2. Aren’t you the lucky one! Thanks for reading.

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