Believe it or not, I tried my very first fig just this year. While I didn’t know what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised at the subtle sweet flavor and delicate texture. Since discovering I enjoy this fruit so much, I’ve since realized how incredibly nutritious and versatile they are. For instance, figs can be enjoyed fresh or dried, roasted or baked, savory or sweet. Plus, a 1-cup serving contains nearly 15 grams of fiber! I think I’ve found a new favorite fruit to cycle into my daily snack line-up.
Health benefits: Figs are extremely healthy for you, containing a variety of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, fiber, flavonoids, potassium, manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin K, magnesium and copper. Figs are also considered a healthy low-calorie, low-fat food with the ability to boost mood and improve both digestive and cardiovascular health. Additionally, they contain antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body to combat and prevent certain types of cancer, and have also been found to have anti-inflammatory benefits.
Nutrition statistics: 1 cup dried figs contains approximately 371 calories, 1 gram fat, 15 mg sodium, 95 grams carbohydrates, 15 grams fiber, 71 grams sugar, 5 grams protein.
Cooking methods: When choosing a fig, make sure it’s soft but not mushy. It should smell slightly sweet and never sour. Once washed and removed of the stem, you can eat the entire fig as is. Perhaps the most popular way to eat figs besides dried is fresh in salads, over yogurt or on toast with honey.
If you prefer them dried, try adding them to you favorite granola and trail mix recipes. Alternatively, roast them and add to rice puddings, tarts and a variety of other desserts. They are also well suited for dishes with meat, such as roasts. Check out the recipes below for an idea of how to use figs in both sweet and savory settings. In light of it being fall, our favorites are the roasted butternut squash with figs and rosemary, and the squash, kale and fig salad. Try them all to fit more of this nutrient-packed fruit into your diet!
Fig Sea Salt and Agave Ice Cream from V.K. Rees Photography (pictured above)
Image via V.K. Rees Photography
October 7th, 2012