Known as the "fruit of the gods," figs are in season now, but they're nothing new. In season from from June to early Fall, the sweet fruit were used by the Greeks as signs of prosperity and for early Olympic training. For the food nerds among us, a mini fig tutorial.
1. Fossil records date figs back to between 9400-9200 B.C.
2. Three large fresh figs (a little over two-ounces each) contain just 140 calories and 5.5 grams of dietary fiber. That's more fiber than in 1 cup of cooked oatmeal or a slice of a Double Fiber Wheat Bread!
3. 3.5 ounces of dried figs contain 162 milligrams of calcium. That's 16 percent of your daily recommendation. In fact, half a cup of figs has the same amount of calcium as half a cup of milk.
4. Since figs hold moisture in baked goods, pureed figs can be used as a fat substitution in recipes. Use half the amount of fig puree as you would use butter or oil.
5. Figs have a 55 percent natural sugar content, making them the sweetest of all fruits.
6. California produces 98 percent of the nation's figs.
7. Fig Varieties Include:
- O'Rourke: A sugary sweet fig that is brownish-purple on the outside and light red on the inside and grows early in fig season.
- LSU Purple: A mildly sweet fig with a firm white flesh and purple skin that grows midseason.
- Green Ischia: Green on the outside and bright red on the inside, this late-season fig has a very sweet jammy flavor.
- Alma: This honey-flavored late-season fig has a golden-brown outside and an amber-colored flesh.
- Brown Turkey: Light red flesh with a classic sweet flavor and a golden brown skin that grows late in the season.
- Marseille: This mild-flavored, midseason fig with a light green outside and a whitish-yellow flesh was first introduced by Thomas Jefferson.
- Italian Black: This black beauty is a midseason fig with a bright red flesh and sweet taste and is often used to make preserves.
- Papa John: This richly sweet purple skinned midseason variety has a bright red flesh.
- Celeste: This super-sweet midseason variety has a brownish-purple skin and light red flesh.
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