Got a date for dinner tonight? No? Well, then how about a fig? These sweet little treats are practically jumping off the trees this here in San Luis Obispo at this time of year. Figs are perfect for a quick snack or a delicious addition to salads and sauces, and appetizers.
Originating in Asia and cultivated heavily throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East, this Ficus (and member of the Mulberry family) can range from 6-9 meters in height with smooth grey bark The fruits of the common fig tree rage from green to deep purple to brown. Its leaves are large, green and lobed. Figs love dry, warm, sunny areas with deep and well-drained soils. With deep root systems and large, shade-creating branches, these plants are popular additions to gardens and farms here on the Central Coast.
Healthy Habits- The leaves of the fig tree have been used to treat bronchitis, and have been shown to lower triglyceride levels, reduce the amount of insulin needed by diabetics, and aid in healing ulcers. The fruits are also high in fiber, packed with potassium, and full of antioxidants. This humble fruit may even diminish the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women, promote bone density, and protect against macular degeneration.
Fun with Figs- Both appetizing and fun, fig turkeys add whimsy to the party. Using a whole fig as the body, insert an almond to into the apex (stem side) for a beak, pretzels sticks for legs, raisins for eyes, and your favorite leafy greens or thinly sliced pairs for the fanned tail feathers. Attach with toothpicks and serve with a good sense of humor.
Recipe for Success- Figs are remarkably versatile and easy to prepare. From biscotti to toast rounds topped with goat cheese and figs, the possibilities are as varied as your imagination. Why not make a little fig jam for holiday gifts this year? Browse through the California Fig Advisory Board’s website for some inspiration and a ton of recipes.
Feature the fig in your next dish for a healthy and delectable burst of flavor! With such a large amount of goodness in such a small package, it isn’t hard to fig-ure out why so many are crazy about this amazing fruit.