I’m slightly embarrassed to admit something: I never tasted a fresh fig until this year. That is several decades over due! I’ve had fig spreads on charcuterie boards but that was the extent of my fig experience. I didn’t know how to eat them (you eat the whole thing skin and all!) and was always a little leery. But this last month we moved out to the country and Rob has a fig tree! And right now, that tree is producing like crazy. Every day I have handfuls of delicate green juicy nuggets and I see beautiful purple varieties at farmers markets. So it was time to tackle these %@*&# figs and see what this underrepresented ingredient could do.
Are figs healthy though you ask? Yes they are! They are great for heart health, with fiber, calcium, potassium, magnesium and B vitamins. Dried figs will give you more of these nutrients but I prefer the less sweet, less caloric, fresh variety. The downside, if any? Figs are high in natural sugar, about 10+ grams per large fruit, but we can minimize the glucose hit by dressing them up with fat and protein.
1. Figs with Blue Cheese
This makes a decadent snack or appetizer. Simply cut your fresh fig in half, smear on your favorite blue cheese (Brie would be lovely too!) and sprinkle with Fleur de sel (or sea salt). It’s a blissful little bite of pure goodness.
2. Fig & Burrata Salad
How gorgeous is this? You’ll find several versions of this salad online, but this one uses a fabulous white balsamic vinaigrette and my own little tweaks. It’s a stunner of a salad – salty, sweet, creamy, crunchy and so perfect for entertaining. It comes together quickly too without a lot of fuss. Get the recipe here!
3. Fresh Fig Jam (No Added Sugar)
With our prolific tree dropping figs daily, I had to make a jam. I tinkered with this recipe because what I’d previously tried came out way too sweet and honestly, kinda gross. I wanted to minimize the sugar load while still producing something delicious and this is it. Spread on anything you like or add to a charcuterie board. It freezes well too! Get recipe here.
4. Sweet & Savory = Bliss
Much like option no. 1, figs and savory things (cheese!) are a match made in heaven. Here’s some ideas on where to use fresh figs:
- Pizza & Flatbreads – figs will dress up either option and give you that classic sweet-savory hit we love.
- Meat – add figs while roasting meat or glaze with fig jam (pork would be especially wonderful). As delicate as figs are, they hold up remarkably well to cooking.
- Hors d’oeuvres – figs add a decadent feel to appetizers and don’t need a lot of fuss. Add figs to a plate of cured meats, cheeses and nuts and you have a very special board for guests. Add quartered figs on top of a crackers or wrap sliced figs (either quartered or halved) with prosciutto or Serrano ham. It’s absolutely delicious and so many options/combos to play around with.
If you haven’t given figs their glorious due, I hope you’ll work in some of these recipes and discover how amazing they are. And in moderation they are quite nutritious, just remember to pair them with protein, fat and fiber.
Drop a note in the comments and let me know how these recipes work for you. I’m always excited to hear your feedback.