Fresh Figs!

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Fresh figs are a Southern favorite, and if you are lucky enough to snag some before the birds and insects, then you are very lucky. Fresh figs have a pretty short window of availability in the south, but now is the time to start the hunt!!

Figs have been popular around the world for centuries. Not only are they tasty, but also very nutritious. In more recent research, studies have shown that they are helpful in treating a range of medical concerns, from diabetes to eczema!

Well-loved for their sweet, mild flavor and multiple uses, figs are low in calories and have no fat. One large, raw fig has just 47 calories. If you’re looking to shed pounds, figs are a great replacement for unhealthy snacks.

Eating a dried fig is just like eating a cookie! One ounce of dried figs 3 grams of fiber. Fiber may help alleviate constipation and keep you feeling full longer. It may also help lower cholesterol and control blood sugar levels.

Figs are a good source of calcium, which can ward off osteoporosis as well as other health issues. You won’t find a better plant source of calcium than figs.

If you’re hoping to add more antioxidants to your diet, you can’t go wrong with figs. Antioxidants are thought to reduce cell-damaging free radicals in the body. Nutrition experts recommend upping your antioxidant intake by eating more fruits and vegetables like figs.

Easy Oven Roasted Figs

Ingredients

  • 5 fresh figs
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • A handful of rosemary sprigs
  • 1½ tablespoon honey

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Slice the figs as you desire and place in a baking dish.
  2. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon on fig slices. Toss rosemary springs over them.
  3. Roast for 40 minutes and remove from oven. Cool for 10-15 minutes and serve with honey.

Serves 5, each serving contains; Calories 68, Fat 0.2g, Carbohydrates 18g, Protein 0.5g, Sodium 1.5mg.

Small Batch Fig Jam

Ingredients

  • 3 lemons
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 2 pounds ripe fresh figs, stemmed and quartered

Directions

  1. Remove strips of rind from lemons using a vegetable peeler, avoiding white pith.
  2. Combine rind strips and remaining ingredients in a large, heavy saucepan or large Dutch oven; bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  3. Reduce heat to medium; cook 50 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. To test for doneness, place a small amount on a chilled plate. Tilt the plate; preserves should move sluggishly. (If testing with a candy thermometer, it should read 220°.)
  4. Discard thyme and lemon rind strips.

Serves 24, each 2 tablespoon serving contains; Calories 132, Fat 0.2g, Protein 0g, Carbohydrates 34g, Fiber 2 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 1 mg.

Use this jam to make

Ed’s Figgy Jezebel Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 pint of fig jam
  • 1 tsp. of Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. horseradish, or more to taste

Directions

  1. Heat in a small saucepan over medium heat until combined. Great for pork or beef.

Banana Muffins with Fig and Ginger

Ingredients

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 to 3 medium)
  • ½ cup fat-free milk
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed, or 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped, stemmed dried mission figs
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat twelve 2½-inch muffin cups with cooking spray; set aside. In a large bowl, stir together flours, baking powder, ground ginger, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the mashed bananas, milk, brown sugar, egg and, oil. Add banana mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in figs. Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin cups, filling about three-fourths full.
  3. In a small bowl, combine crystallized ginger and chia seeds. Sprinkle evenly over muffins.
  4. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centers of muffins comes out clean. Cool muffins in pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from pans. Cool slightly and serve while warm.

Tip: If using a sugar substitute, choose Splenda® Brown Sugar Blend. Follow package directions to use product amount equivalent to ⅓ cup brown sugar. Nutrition Per Serving with Substitute, same as below, except 167 calories, 26 g carbohydrate (7 g sugars), 171 mg sodium.

Serves 12, each serving contains; Calories 177, Fat 5g, Carbohydrates 30g, Protein 4g, Sodium 173mg.

Chicken and Fig Skewers

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup port wine, or a sweet red wine
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 24 (3/4-inch) pieces
  • 4 large shallots, quartered
  • 16 sage leaves
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 firm fresh Striped Tiger or Black Mission figs, halved vertically
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

Directions

  1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil; cook 15 minutes or until reduced to 1/2 cup. Discard thyme sprig.
  2. Preheat grill to high heat.
  3. Thread 3 chicken pieces, 2 shallot quarters, and 2 sage leaves alternately onto each of 8 (8-inch) skewers. Coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with 3/4 teaspoon pepper and salt. Thread 6 fig halves onto each of 4 (8-inch) skewers, cut sides facing the same direction. Coat with cooking spray; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  4. Arrange chicken skewers on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 12 minutes, turning to brown all sides. Brush chicken skewers with half of wine mixture during final minute of cooking. Arrange fig skewers, cut side down, on grill rack; grill 3 minutes. Turn fig skewers over; grill 1 minute.
  5. Arrange skewers on a serving plate. Drizzle with remaining wine mixture; sprinkle with thyme leaves.

Serves 12, each serving contains; Calories 477, Fat 10g, Carbohydrates 54g, Protein 31g, Sodium 380mg, Cholesterol 78mg.

Roast Beef with Mushroom Fig Sauce

(Adapted from an Eating Well recipe)

Ingredients

  • 1 2- to 2½-pound beef eye round roast
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped sweet onion
  • ½ cup lower-sodium beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 1 teaspoon snipped fresh rosemary or ½ teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • ¾ cup lower-sodium beef broth
  • ¾ cup chopped, fresh figs
  • Fresh rosemary sprigs

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Trim fat from meat. Sprinkle meat with the salt and pepper, rubbing in with your fingers.
  2. Place meat on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Insert an oven-going meat thermometer into center of roast. Roast, uncovered, for 1½ to 1¾ hours or until thermometer registers 135°F (it is not recommended to roast an eye round roast past medium-rare doneness). Cover meat with foil and let stand for 15 minutes before slicing. Temperature of the meat after standing should be 145°F.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms and onion to skillet. Cook over medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes or until mushrooms are just tender and lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add wine to skillet. Return to the heat and bring to boiling; boil gently, uncovered, for 3 minutes or until wine is reduced by about half. Whisk in mustard and 1 teaspoon rosemary. Add broth and figs. Bring to boiling; boil gently, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until liquid is slightly thickened and reduced by about one-third.
  4. Thinly slice meat and serve with mushroom sauce. Garnish with rosemary sprigs.

Serves 8, each serving contains; Calories 243, Fat 10g, Carbohydrates 8g, Protein 26g, Sodium 274mg, Cholesterol 46mg.