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Gettin' Figgy With It

09.25.13 Gettin' Figgy With It


The fig display at Whole Foods caught me off guard today. The tower of Black Mission figs had a special calling and in a flash, I grabbed a pint and assumed I'd make something new with these sweet gems. 

The edible fig is one of the first plants that was cultivated by humans. It predates the domestication of wheat, barley, and legumes, and may even be the first known instance of agriculture. 

How do eating figs benefit our health?

  • Help Lower High Blood Pressure: Figs are a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps to control blood pressure and hypertension.  
  • A Sweet Way to Lose Weight: Figs are a good source of dietary fiber. Fiber and fiber-rich foods may have a positive effect on weight management by slowing down digestion and cuts hunger. 
  • Bone Density Promoter: Figs are a fruit source of calcium (79 milligrams in an 8 oz-wt serving), a mineral that has many functions including promoting bone density.
  • Good for the ticker: Eating figs help to lower triglycerides levels within the blood.
  • Rich plant source of calcium and fiber, as well as copper, manganese, magnesium, potassium and vitamin K.
  • Contain many antioxidants and have a laxative effect (an added bonus).

Among many fig varieties, here are a few popular ones:

Black Mission: this smallish fig is one of the most available varieties and is heavily studded with seeds. When perfectly ripe, the texture is sticky and jammy. Perfect to eat plain, or with yogurt or tangy cheese. The dried versions make delicious homemade fig newtons!

Brown Turkey: extremely popular and elongated pear shaped with maple brown skin, but far less sweet than the Black Mission figs. Terrific in salads and desserts.

Calimyrna: these figs are much larger with a slightly golden skin and pink flesh and a nutty flavor. Primarilty grown in Southern California and highly perishable.

Kadota: the most common green type. These are also less sweet and more likely to be used in baking and canning.

So, what to make with figs? Take a look at one of our Pinterest boards dedicated to fabulous FIGS. You'll find this delicious fruit in desserts, appetizers, smoothies, and ideas to eat them paired with perfect companion foods. 

And, if you like Fig Newtons, you'll really love making a homemade version of this classic cookie. There are so many great versions of this recipe satisfying many individual needs (grain free, paleo, no-sugar, etc.) and can find out more by reading thsi post: Homemade Fig Newtons.

Oh, and finally, here are good tips for selecting figs:

  • Fresh figs are highly perishable so only purchase a day or two before you plan to eat them.
  • Look for figs that have a rich, deep color and are plump and tender, but not mushy.
  • Check the stems to be firm and free of bruises.
  • Give them a good whiff - they should have a mildly sweet fragrance and never smell sour (sure sign of spoilage).
What type of fig is your favorite? And how do you enjoy eating them?
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