Fresh Fig Benefits
Figs not only taste good, but they are a good source of fiber and complex carbohydrates. They’re also rich in several minerals, including potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron. In fact, when you eat a half-cup of figs you get as much calcium as when you drink a half-cup of milk.
So if you’re wondering how to eat figs, so you get these healthy fruits in your diet, here are some suggestions. . .
How To Eat Figs Fresh
Fresh figs are great eaten as is. Some people say fresh figs taste like a mix of a peach and a strawberry! However, sometimes fresh figs are hard to find, as they are extremely delicate and don’t travel well.
The trees produce a small, early crop. There is a second and much bigger crop, which is when most figs are more readily available. In southern areas of the United States this occurs from July on through until frost stops production. In more northern locations, fig trees may only produce one crop per season, generally in August or later.
Fresh, ripe figs should be fairly soft, but not mushy. A perfectly ripe fig is heavy for its size and usually oozing a bit of sugary syrup. Sometimes these natural sugars appear as surface sugar crystals. This is a natural phenomenon and does not indicate spoilage. If you want to remove the sugar crystals:
- Place 1/2 cup figs in a microwave-safe dish.
- Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon water.
- Cover loosely and microwave on high for one minute.
The color of figs varies from green, brown, yellow to purple or almost black, depending on the variety of fig. The size also varies depending on the variety.
Ripened figs can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days, but they should be eaten as soon as possible after you buy them. They ferment readily, and should also be checked for mold.
You can use a sharp knife or a pair of scissors to cut up figs. If the knife gets sticky, run it under hot water to remove the fig syrup.
If you find fresh figs that are hard or dried out, they should be used in recipes where they are poached or macerated. Keep in mind that figs do not continue to ripen once picked, so if they’re unripe when you buy them, they’re going to stay that way.
If it doesn’t look like you’re going to use up your fresh figs right away, they can also be kept in the freezer for up to one year.
When You Can’t Find Fresh Healthy Figs, Try Dried Ones
Since it’s sometimes difficult to find fresh figs, dried figs are a good option. They can be eaten as is for a sweet treat.
Dried figs can also be soaked to soften them, or cooked by themselves or with any other dried fruits. They are good stewed, and are usually sweet enough to require little or no sugar.
Buy natural dried figs that don’t have any sulfite or potassium sorbate preservatives. You get more fruit for your money with preservative-free figs because the preservatives make the fruit retain up to 30% more water. It’s better to be eating the figs than perservatives anyway!
Natural dried figs will be darker in color than those with perservatives. The flavor is also more concentrated, and of course they are also more nutrient dense since they don’t have so much water. They’re also chewier.
Dried figs can be stored in the original sealed package at room temperature for a month. For longer storage, keep them in the refrigerator, six months to a year. Opened dried figs should be transferred to a sealable plastic bag or some kind of airtight container and stored in the refrigerator. They are best used within a year of purchase.
Sometimes a powder forms on dried figs. This is the fruit’s natural sugar in a crystalline form and is edible.
It doesn’t matter whether you call them a Fig (English), Higo (Spanish), Figue (French), Feige (German), or Fico (Italian), this is one healthy fruit, and an easy health food to add to your diet.