Newton’s Law: Figs
Figs may be one of the prettiest fruits out there but they are also full of nutrients. And we mean figs ladies and gentlemen, not Fig Newtons! According to the American Institute of Cancer Research AICR, figs contain a beneficial amount of fiber, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, making them a cancer fighting food. Figs are primarily grown during the summer months, starting in June through September. However, you can buy dried figs all year round. Most of our figs are grown in California, primarily in locations such as Fresno, Madera, and counties in the San Joaquin Valley because of the warm climate. They originated from Mediterranean countries and were brought over by Spanish and Portuguese missionaries to the New World around 1520. Figs eventually reached California in the 1700s.
The fiber content in fruit has been shown to be extremely beneficial. Dietary fiber is a natural laxative, therefore helping with weight management. A study also showed that the consumption of fruit containing soluble fiber, such as figs, may help prevent breast cancer in postmenopausal women. The potassium in figs is also healthful because it helps regulate blood pressure, which is ideal for people who suffer from high levels of sodium. Figs are optimal to consume when they are ripened and fresh, this way they contain high levels of antioxidants and nutrients. Figs are not the only beneficial component of the ficus plant, their leaves also contain healing properties. The antidiabetic properties of fig leaves allow increased insulin sensitivity, meaning that diabetic patients may not require as much of their insulin injections. Lastly, enjoy figs in moderation because their oxalate levels promote laxative effects on the body.
Types of Figs:
Black Mission Figs are one of the most common figs. They have black-purple like skin, dark pink flesh, and are very sweet. These figs are delectable when consumed raw or with dairy products such as cheese or yogurt. You can usually find this type of fig sold dried in a supermarket.
Adriatic Figs can be a pale green or pale yellow with a bright pinkish red inside. These figs are also extremely sweet and can be enjoyed on their own.
Brown Turkey Figs have brownish-purple skin with pale green colors (sometimes). Even though they look alike, they should not be confused with the black mission figs. These figs have a milder flavor making them ideal to add into salads or desserts.
Calimyrna Figs have golden pale green skin and pink flesh. These figs have a certain nuttiness flavor making them served best when freshly cut up or simply dried.
When selecting your figs, it is best to shop for them at a local greenmarket or farmer’s market due to their seasonal properties. Look for plump, tender, and deep colored figs that are not mushy or bruised. They should emit a mildly sweet fragrance as well. Figs are highly perishable and should be purchased about a day or two prior to consumption and then refrigerated. Fresh figs can be stored in a freezer for about 3-6 months. Dried figs can last about 6-12 months in a pantry or refrigerator as long as they are kept in a cool and dry place.
Fresh figs can be eaten raw and alone or combined with other foods. They are often enjoyed when made into jams too. You can top oatmeal and porridge with fresh or dried figs along with other fruits such as berries and bananas. The nutty flavor of figs goes well with other nuts such as walnuts and almonds. Cheeses mix wonderfully with figs and give you that sweet and salty flavor along with a creamy texture. You can try these tips with CFYL’s nutritious recipes: Crostini with Fig & Walnut Tapenade, Fig & Bulgur Porridge, and our Fig & Goat Cheese Pizza.