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The Fig: Not Class Favorite But Certainly Valedictorian

Nutritionally dense side dish
Nutritionally dense side dish

Maybe the popularity of the fig won't get it voted "Class Favorite" because, lets face it, it's not as pretty as the plump, colorful blueberry, but because of it's nutritional value, it should be voted "Valedictorian." The fig wins votes for high dietary fiber and calcium. It's great for athletes who don't like bananas (yes, there are some) because it's packed with potassium. For all wine drinkers, give up the wine and eat a fig because the fruit has more antioxidants than that glass of red. Red wine = 200-800mg/200ml phenols compared to 1090 -1110 mg/100g in the fig. *Consumption of whole fruit recommended since most of the antioxidants are found in the skin. SOURCE: Robby Gardner, Nutritional Outlook

There are so many uses for all parts of the fig. The leaves are valuable to veterinarians in treating digestive issues. The tree produces latex, a sticky white substance which contains approximately 13 amino acids and may be used in oral or topical applications provided the recipient isn't sensitive to latex. Eyes, appetite, digestion, constipation, skin ailments, all may be treatable with compounds from the fig. SOURCE.

Even more good news: Figs are available early this year as reported by California Fresh Figs. Find them at the local grocery stores such as Hannafords, Price Chopper, your favorite grocer.

A nutritionally packed recipe using the all around healthy fig.

Hot Fresh Fig Slaw

Combining a bitter vegetable with sweet fruits such as figs offers a rewarding combination of bitter-sweet. With the delicate crunch of sunflower seeds, this is one side dish you’ll want to make over and over again.
Serves 4
• 1 large head Radicchio, coarsely chopped
• 1 TBS olive oil
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• ¼ to 1/3 cup figs, chopped
• 2 TBS toasted sunflower seeds: Toast sunflower seeds in a dry saute pan over medium heat, watching closer so they do not burn. Toast just until brown.
• salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil over medium high heat and sauté the radicchio for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add the garlic. Cook for 30 seconds. Add the figs and toasted seeds, salt and pepper and continue cooking about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve hot.

What is your favorite recipe using figs? Did you know the fig was so nutritionally dense?

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