Season for Figs July – October

Figs Described

Not only is this fleshy fruit revered for its unique aesthetic (it’s actually an inverted flower!) and luscious sweet taste with a texture that combines an almost surreally chewy flesh, a smooth skin and delicate seeds, but figs happen to be remarkably nutritious. Perhaps most infamous of all, figs have been imparting their aphrodisiac powers throughout history, always associated with fertility (interest piqued? 11 Foods that Get Your Sex Drive Going Naturally). In the US, you’ll most commonly encounter the Black Mission, Brown Turkey, Kadota, and Calimyrna figs, but over 150 varieties exist – which may vary dramatically in color but subtly in this fruit’s characteristic texture.

How to Buy and Store Figs

Nothing quite beats a fresh fig… but this highly perishable and extremely fragile fruit needs to be handled with care. 

Go hunting for the perfect figs the day of or day before you intend to eat them. Choose those ripe fruits that yield to gentle finger pressure, but make sure they’re not soft or squishy. Avoid wrinkled skins, splits or black spots. Store your figs at room temperature in a cool, dark spot for a day or two. You may be able to extend their life a little longer by placing them on a plate lined with paper towels and placing them uncovered in the refrigerator. That said, however, chilling tends to dull the many facets of a figs flavor and fragrance, so make sure you allow them to come to room temperature before indulging. 

How to Cook Figs

As we said, fresh figs are nearly incomparable. Pair them with a local, farm fresh cheese on a warm slice of baguette, and you’re an instant gastronomical genius (you can use the dried ones too). Or stuff them with a salty chevre, sprinkled with some nuts to make your fig truly shine. But figs are also delicious when cooked with said savory counterparts, or into desserts. Give our Organic Fig Almond Frangipani Tart a try! You can also use fig purée much in the same way you would use applesauce as a substitute for fats and sweeteners in baked goods. 

Just gently wipe figs clean with a damp cloth or quickly rinse them and pat dry. Cut off the tough stems, as they contain an unsavory milky substance. Now, they’re ready to go!

Health Benefits of Figs

You’ll find in figs a plethora of nutritional wow. They are a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps control blood pressure and calcium which promotes bone density and can help stave off osteoporosis. They also shine with iron, which, if deficient, can lead to lethargy, short attention span and fatigue, among other things. Figs are full of fiber too, which has been shown to aid in weight management

Though harder to come by (you could ask a local fig farmer), the leaves of a ficus tree on which the fig grows, have been shown to have antidiabetic properties and can actually reduce the amount of insulin needed by those with diabetes who require insulin injections. The leaves also provide many other health uses that you can check out here.

Why Buy Natural and Organic Figs

When it comes to figs, conventionally-grown specimens are often dried in an artificial process that includes sulfur dioxide gas. Additionally,often times sulfites are added to extend their shelf life. Some people have sulfite sensitivities, and when you buy organically-labelled figs, you ensure sulfur compounds have not been used in their cultivation. Choosing organic figs, whenever possible, helps minimize your exposure to pesticides and other chemicals, too. This gorgeous fruit need not be tainted by the noxious hand of commercialization. 

image: RuTemple