What are figs?
Long before high fructose corn syrup, figs were humankind’s go-to sweetener—and we were better off for it. Sumerian stone tablets dating back to 2500 B.C. reference fig consumption. They were also a favorite energy food for the Spartans. Figs offer a unique texture that combines chewy flesh and crunchy seeds with velvety-smooth skin. Fig trees can live up to 100 years and grow up to 100 feet tall, and they produce hundreds of varieties. Figs can have black, purple, or green skins, and pink, purple, or amber flesh. Most are dried, meaning you can enjoy these fiber-rich fruits throughout the year.
When do I look for figs?
You’ll find dried figs year-round at most grocery stores. Fresh figs might be available at your local farmers markets if you live in warmer states. Check in at your favorite farmers market June through September.
How do I choose figs?
Ripe figs should yield a bit when squeezed; unripe figs are firm. Look for clean, dry figs with smooth skins, free of blemishes, breaks, and punctures. Figs that are too ripe will smell sour because they’re beginning to ferment.
What are the health benefits of figs?
Figs are good sources of dietary fiber and carbohydrates, making them an ideal energy snack for long hikes or bike rides. One large raw fig delivers seven percent of the daily-recommended fiber requirement and 47 calories. Figs also contain calcium, iron, and vitamin C.
How do I store figs?
Figs have short shelf lives, and should be eaten within three days if fresh. Store fresh figs in a plastic bag in the coldest part of your refrigerator. Dried figs can be stored at room temperature in their original sealed packages for about a month. Stored in the refrigerator, dried figs will keep for six months to a year.
How do you eat figs?
Toss quartered figs with mixed greens—baby spinach, some arugula, and leafy green lettuce—and top with shaved Parmesan cheese for a savory and sweet lunch or dinner salad. Fresh figs stuffed with a mixture of goat cheese, chopped almonds, and fresh chopped rosemary makes a creamy, crunchy, and chewy appetizer or main dish. For an elegant dessert, poach fresh figs in red wine and serve with nonfat yogurt. Here’s a great healthy recipe you might want to try.
How do I get my kids to like figs?
Mix chopped fresh or dried figs, walnuts, and fresh blueberries into their morning oatmeal or granola for added texture and flavor.
What are your favorite ways to eat figs? Tell us in the comments!