What are Figs?
Often mentioned in the Bible as a sign of peace and prosperity, the fig tree is so ancient, remnants of the fruit have been discovered in Neolithic excavations sites circa 5,000 B.C. Thought to be native to Western Asia or Egypt, figs were cultivated very early throughout the Middle East and Europe and finally reached England and China by the mid-1500s. Spanish missionaries planted orchards in California in the late 19th century, where they still thrive today.
Belonging to the mulberry family, there is a plethora of fig tree varieties. Most of them are small at 10-30 feet and thrive in warm, dry climates. Pollinated by a tiny wasp, fig trees never blossom because the flowers are on the inside, producing dozens and sometimes hundreds of miniscule seeds that give figs their unique, crunchy texture.
Considered exotic in some areas of the world, figs are sweet and juicy when ripe. They can be red, yellow, or purple-skinned or green-striped, each with their own unique flavor. But before they reach optimal ripeness, figs are gummy with “latex,” which contains serious skin irritants, so protective measures for workers are sometimes mandated for fig production operations.
Dried figs are sometimes roasted and ground as a coffee substitute or converted into alcohol as a liqueur or tobacco flavoring.
Figs are quite perishable and should be refrigerated if not eaten within a few days. Like apples, figs are a great snack by themselves, but also can be added either peeled or unpeeled to many recipes. It’s interesting that the seeds only add to the satisfying, tasty chewiness. Best at the firm-to-tender stage, the more ripe they are, the more antioxidants they provide.
Figs are oval or pear-shaped and come in white, green, red, yellow, purple, and black colors. You can eat them raw and fresh, dried. They have many health benefits which includes controls blood sugar level, aids in digestion, heart health, Reduces Cancer Risk among others.
History Of Figs
Ficus carica L., commonly known as the fig, originated in northern Asia Minor and spread with the Greeks and the Romans throughout the Mediterranean region. Spanish Franciscan missionaries brought the fig to southern California in 1520, leading to the variety known as the Mission fig. Evidence shows the fig to be in abundance in both China and England by this time as well.
The fig tree appears repeatedly in both the Old and New Testament of the Bible (some scholars believe the forbidden fruit picked by Eve was a fig rather than an apple), but it has been cultivated for much longer. Sumerian stone tablets dating back to 2500 B.C. record culinary use of figs, and remains of fig trees were found during excavations of Neolithic sites from 5000 B.C. Some historians consider it the first of the domesticated crops.
Figs hold a position of symbolism in many world religions, including Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism and Buddhism, representing fertility, peace, and prosperity. Ancient Olympians earned figs for their athletic prowess, and Pliny the Elder extolled the fruit’s restorative powers. The prophet Mohammed reportedly identified the fig as the one fruit he would most wish to see in paradise.
Figs in the Garden
The deciduous fig tree can live as long as 100 years and grow to 50 feet tall, though they more typically stay between 10 to 30 feet. The twisty branches spread wider than the tree height. Figs flourish in hot, dry climates and the fruit requires all-day sun to ripen.
Botanically, the fig isn’t actually a fruit but a syconium. It’s a portion of the stem that expanded into a sac containing flowers that grow internally. The common fig contains only female flowers and propagates without pollination. Other cultivars require pollination.
Figs on the Table
Though there are hundreds of varieties of figs, consumers in the United States can most easily find Black Mission, Brown Turkey, Kadota and Calimyrna figs. California and Texas produce most of the country’s commercial crop, and fresh figs appear in grocery stores throughout the summer months. Dried, canned and frozen figs and packaged fig paste and fig jam are widely available all year long.
Oval or pear-shaped figs may be white, green, red or purplish-black and can be eaten raw and whole or grilled. Figs ground into a paste and incorporated into cakes, cookies and other baked goods add moisture and sweetness.
Types Of Figs
There are five common varieties of figs. Each type differs subtly in flavor and sweetness. They are:
1.Black Mission – Black Mission figs are blackish-purple outside and pink inside. They are incredibly sweet and even ooze out the syrup. They are perfect to eat as a dessert or mix in cake or cookie recipes to increase the flavor.
2.Kadota – Kadotas are green with purple flesh. They are the least sweet among all the varieties of figs. They are excellent to eat raw and also taste good if heated with a pinch of salt.
1. Health Benefits of Apples
2. Health Benefits of Bananas
3. Health Benefits of Honey
4. Health Benefits of Ginger
5. Health Benefits of Garlic
6. Health Benefits of Lemon
7. Health Benefits of Pumpkin
8. Health Benefits of Watermelons
1. 25 Sexual Questions to Ask A Girl
2. 45 Things a Girl Wants But Wont Ask For
3. 10 Things You’re Doing that are Killing Your Kidneys
4. 25 Really Romantic Ideas to Make Your Lover Melt!
5. 60 Really Sweet Things To Say To A Girl
6. 19 Things Women in Relationships Must Not Do
7. 20 Things Women Should Never, Ever, Do
8. Top 20 Things Men Should Never, Ever, Do
3.Calimyrna – Calimyrna figs are greenish-yellow on the outside and amber on the inside. They are larger when compared to another type of figs and have a unique and strong nut flavor.
4.Brown Turkey – The Brown Turkey figs have purple skin and red flesh. Their flavor is mild and less sweet than the other type of figs. They work well in salads.
5. Adriatic – Adriatic figs have light green skin and are pink on the inside. These figs are often used to make fig bars. They are also called white figs as they are very light colored. They are extremely sweet and can be enjoyed as a simple fruit dessert.
We have learned quite a bit about figs. It’s time to find out why they are good for us. Gear up! Here we go.
Nutritional Value of Figs
The health benefits of figs come from the presence of minerals, vitamins, and fiber contained in the fruits. They contain a wealth of beneficial nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, calcium, iron, phosphorus, manganese, sodium, potassium, and chlorine. Common figs grow on the ficus tree (ficus carica), which is a member of the mulberry family. Originally from Western Asia and the Middle East, they’re now grown in temperate climates around the world. Figs can be consumed either raw or dried, which affects the nutritional value. Thus, 100 grams of raw figs nutrition contains about:
Amount Per 100 grams
- Calories 107
- Fat 0.1 g
- Cholesterol 0 mg
- Sodium 1 mg
- Potassium 97 mg – 2% RDA
- Carbohydrate 28 g – 9% RDA
- Protein 0.4 g
- Vitamin C 1% RDA
- Calcium 2% RDA
- Iron 1% RDA
- Magnesium 2% RDA
Nutritional Facts of Figs
|PRINCIPLE||NUTRIENT VALUE||PERCENTAGE OF RDA|
|Total Fat||0.30 g||1%|
|Dietary Fiber||2.9 g||7%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.300 mg||6%|
|Vitamin A||142 IU||5%|
|Vitamin C||2 mg||3%|
|Vitamin E||0.11 mg||1%|
|Vitamin K||4.7 µg||4%|
Comparing the Calories
If you’re a strict calorie counter, you may be surprised to learn that dried figs are a little lower in calories than the fresh. One dried fig has 20 calories, while one fresh has 30. But, when it comes to hunger control, the fresh fig may make the better choice. The water in the fresh fig adds more volume, which means it fills up more of your stomach. You don’t feel full as a result of calories eaten, but as a result of the volume of food you eat. So, while the fresh figs may have 10 more calories than the dried, you’d need to eat five dried figs to get the same volume of food as one fresh fig.
Carbs, Fiber and Sugar Content
When comparing dried and fresh, the differences in carb and sugar content are slight. But, again, the dried fig is slightly lower in both categories. One dried fig has 5 grams of carbs and 4 grams of sugar, while one fresh has 8 grams of carbs and 7 grams of sugar. Dried figs may be lower in carbs and sugar, but they’re a little higher on the glycemic index, a system that ranks carbs on how they affect blood sugar. The glycemic index for dried figs is 62, compared to less than 55 for fresh figs. A higher glycemic index means the dried figs may affect blood sugar a little more than the fresh. Both dried and fresh figs have the same amount of fiber, with 1 gram per serving.
Vitamins and Minerals
Figs aren’t a significant source of any vitamins or minerals. When it comes to comparing the fresh versus dried versions of the sweet and seedy fruit, the differences are small. But in this case, the fresh figs may help you get a little closer to your daily needs than the dried, specifically for potassium, magnesium and manganese
Great Source of Potassium, Fiber and Other Depleted Nutrients
Potassium and fiber are two vital components to a healthy diet that many Westerners simply don’t get enough of. Figs are a high-fiber food whether raw or dried, while they also provide anywhere from 7 percent to 19 percent of your daily potassium intake depending on how they’re prepared — thus, eating figs helps overcome low potassium levels.
Fiber helps aid the digestive system, reduces the risk of heart disease and helps with weight loss by helping you feel full. Potassium is found in every cell in the body and is essential to maintain normal body functions. Dried figs nutrition is also great sources of manganese, magnesium and calcium, all of which also don’t appear in our diets as much as they should. Snacking on figs is a low-calorie way to up your intake of these essential nutrients.
Prevent Urinary Calcium Loss
People that maintain a high-sodium diet may be affected by an increased urinary calcium loss. The high potassium content helps to avoid that condition and regulates the content of waste in your urine. It minimizes the calcium loss while increasingly eliminating the amount of uric acid and other harmful toxins out of your body.
Macro-nutrients and Fiber
A half-cup of dried figs — or a serving of six small fresh figs — contains roughly 180 calories, or 9 percent of the daily calorie intake in a 2,000-calorie diet. They’re rich in carbohydrates — dried and fresh figs contain 47.5 and 46 grams of total carbohydrates per serving, respectively — and roughly 2 grams of protein per serving. Fresh and dried figs are excellent sources of dietary fiber, a specialized carbohydrate that reduces cardiovascular disease risk and prevents constipation. A serving of fresh figs contains 7 grams of fiber, while a serving of dried figs provides 7.3 grams. This contributes a significant amount toward your daily fiber intake goal — 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men.
Figs provide beneficial copper. Copper activates enzymes that keep your connective tissues strong, support healthy brain cell communication and aid in energy production. It also helps your body absorb iron, which makes it beneficial for preventing and treating iron deficiency. A serving of fresh figs contains 168 micrograms of copper — 19 percent of the recommended daily intake — while a serving of dried figs has 214 micrograms, or 24 percent of your daily copper intake recommendation.
Vitamins K and A
Figs are good sources of vitamin K, and fresh figs also provide you with beneficial vitamin A. Vitamin K’s primary role in your body involves activating clotting factors — proteins needed for the formation of blood clots. As a result, the vitamin K from your diet allows your body to control bleeding, especially after an injury. Both fresh and dried figs provide significant amounts of vitamin K, at approximately 11.5 micrograms per serving. This makes up 13 percent of the vitamin K recommended daily for women and 9 percent for men. Fresh figs have 341 international units of vitamin A per serving — 15 and 11 percent of the recommended daily vitamin A intakes for women and men, respectively. Vitamin A aids in cellular reproduction and supports the health of your eyes.
Health Benefits of Figs
1. Aids in Digestion
Fig has fiber which adds bulk to the stool and helps promote healthy, regular bowel function and prevents constipation. It also helps eliminate diarrhea and unhealthy or irregular bowel movements.
2. Heart Health
Figs contain pectin which is a soluble fiber and scraps off excess cholestrol and carries them to the excretory system to be eliminated from the body. If cholestrol is left in the blood it can get deposited in the blood vessels and it can lead to heart conditions.
3. Reduces Cancer Risk
The presence of fiber helps stimulate the elimination of free radicals and other cancer-causing substances, particularly in the colon, since fiber increases the healthy movement of the bowels.
4. Controls Blood Sugar Levels
Figs are rich in potassium, which helps regulate the amount of sugar absorbed by the body after meals. Large amounts of potassium can ensure that blood sugar spikes and falls are less frequent, so figs can help diabetics live a normal life.
5. Regulates Blood Pressure
Figs are high in potassium and low in sodium, potassium acts as a vasodilator and helps reduce tension on the blood vessels thereby reducing blood pressure.
6. Strengthens Bones
Figs are rich in calcium, which is one of the most important components in strengthening bones and reducing the risk of osteoporosis. They are also rich in phosphorus, which encourages the bone formation and spurs regrowth if there is any damage to or degradation in bones.
7. Increase Sexual Stamina
Figs are rich in calcium, iron, potassium, and zinc which helps increase sexual stamina. They are also rich in magnesium, the mineral that is required to produce the sex hormones androgen and estrogen.
8. Reduces Throat Pain
Figs contain high mucilage that heals and protects against sore throat. These fruits are soothing to the throat, and their natural juices relieve pain and stress in the vocal chords. Also, figs are a natural cure for tonsillitis. They help in reducing the swelling and irritation caused due to the condition.
9. Eye Care
Figs contain vitamin A which is an antioxidant that improves eye health. It protects the eyes from free radicals and prevents retinal damage. This enhances vision and prevent macular degeneration.
10. Skin Care
Figs contain a high amount of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps to lighten and even out the skin tone. The vitamin also helps in the production of collagen.
11. Prevent Constipation
There are 5 grams of fiber in every three-fig serving. That high concentration of fiber helps promote healthy, regular bowel function and prevents constipation. Fiber works to add bulk and mass to the bowel movements, so it not only prevents constipation but also eliminates diarrhea and unhealthy or irregular bowel movements.
12. Weight loss
The fiber in figs helps reduce weight and is often recommended for obese people. However, their high-calorie count can also result in weight gain, especially when consumed with milk. A few are enough to get the recommended amount of nutrients, so don’t overeat.
13. Lower Cholesterol Levels
Figs contain pectin, which is a soluble fiber. When fiber moves through the digestive tract, it mops up excess clumps of cholesterol and carries them to the excretory system to be eliminated from the body. As a soluble fiber, pectin from the fruit also stimulates healthy bowel movements. They can have a laxative effect, as they are one of the most fiber-dense foods available. High amounts of fiber in your diet can benefit your overall health by preventing certain types of abdominal as well as colon cancer.
14. Treat Colon Cancer
The presence of fiber helps stimulate the elimination of free radicals and other cancer-causing substances, particularly in the colon, since fiber increases the healthy movement of the bowels.
15. Prevent Breast Cancer
The fiber content in figs has been known to protect against breast cancer. After menopause, the hormonal balance in women can often fluctuate. The body’s systems are so interconnected that these hormones affect the immune system, which in turn affect the ability of antioxidants to fight free radicals. Free radicals are prime factors behind the development of cancer, so figs take care of one extra line of defense by providing fiber to the body.
16. Control Diabetes
The American Diabetes Association recommends figs as a high-fiber treat that helps to promote functional control of diabetes. Fig leaves reduce the amount of insulin needed by diabetic patients who have to regularly take insulin injections. They are rich in potassium, which helps regulate the amount of sugar absorbed by the body after meals. Large amounts of potassium can ensure that blood sugar spikes and falls are less frequent, so figs can help diabetics live a normal life.
17. Prevent Hypertension
People usually consume sodium in the form of salt, but low potassium and high sodium level may lead to hypertension. Figs are high in potassium and low in sodium, so they are a perfect defense against the effects of hypertension. This makes them a relaxing food as well, one that can settle the nerves and bring some calmness to your day.
18. Treat Bronchitis
The natural chemicals in fig leaves make them an ideal component for a tea base. Fig leaf tea has been popularly prescribed for various respiratory conditions like bronchitis and is also used as a way to prevent and lessen the symptoms of asthma.
19. Treat Venereal Diseases
Figs have been traditionally used in the Indian subcontinent and a few other areas of the world as a calming salve for venereal diseases. Ingestion or topical application of these fruits work towards providing relief from sexually transmitted diseases, although further research needs to be done on the exact range of symptoms and diseases that these fruits positively affect.
20. Prevent Macular Degeneration
The major cause of vision loss among the elderly is macular degeneration. Fruits like figs are good at helping you avoid this common symptom of aging.
21. Cure Anemia
Lack of iron in the body can cause iron-deficiency anemia. Dried figs contain iron, which is a key component of hemoglobin. Consuming dried figs was found to improve the hemoglobin levels in the blood. Growing children, adolescents, and menstruating and pregnant women specifically should monitor their iron levels to avoid complications. Also, if you are ill or have undergone surgery, include figs in your diet to increase the iron levels in your body and deal with the problem efficiently.
22. Rich In Antioxidants
Figs are a powerhouse of antioxidants, and they neutralize the free radicals in your body and fight diseases. The riper a fig is, the more antioxidants it contains. Figs are a rich source of phenolic antioxidants. The antioxidants in figs enrich the lipoproteins in plasma and shield them from further oxidation.
23. Improve Liver Health
Figs clear obstructions in the liver, thereby enhancing its health. A study showed that an extract prepared from fig leaves exhibited hepatoprotective activity in mice, paving the way for its use in preventing hepatic damage in humans.
24. Effective Natural Laxative
Figs, due to their high fiber content, act as a natural laxative. They make your stool softer, enabling easy digestion. Figs make for great ingredients in laxative syrups.
25. Treat Piles
Dry figs are the best to treat piles. They soften the stools, reducing the pressure on the rectum. Consume them twice a day by soaking three to four figs in water. You can also drink the water in which they are soaked. The seeds in the figs are the active agents that fight the piles. Soak the figs in a glass of water for about 12 hours before consuming them. Eat them once in the morning and then in the night. It works best when you begin your day by eating figs and end it with the same.
26. Prevent Coronary Heart Disease
The antioxidants in figs, as well as their blood pressure lowering properties, eliminate the free radicals in the body, which otherwise block the coronary arteries, leading to coronary heart disease. Also, the presence of potassium, omega-3s, and omega-6s in figs help in preventing heart attacks.
27. Keep Insomnia At Bay
A balanced diet is essential for good sleep. Including figs in your diet enhances the quality of your sleep. They contain the amino acid tryptophan that helps your body create melatonin, which induces sleep.
Figs also contain omega-3 fatty acids that help you to sleep better. The tryptophan present in figs helps in synthesizing vitamin B3 in your body, which keeps insomnia at bay. Lack of vitamin B3 in your body makes you unstable and restless, which can spoil your sleep. Figs are a rich source of magnesium. Lack of magnesium in the body causes stress and irritability, which lead to insomnia.
28. A Good Source Of Energy
Adding figs to your diet is a sure shot way to increase your energy levels. The carbohydrates and sugar present in figs increase the percentage of energy in your body.
29. Boost The Immune System
Figs kill bacteria, viruses, and roundworms in your body, which can otherwise cause health issues. They contain nutrients like potassium and manganese that, along with the antioxidants, boost your immune system.
30. Prevent Wrinkles
A study found that fig extract had an antioxidative and anti collagenase effect on wrinkled skin and reduced the percentage of wrinkle depth. In another study, it was found that a formulation containing fig fruit extract decreased skin melanin, trans-epidermal water loss, and skin sebum significantly. It also increased skin hydration. Hence, figs could be used as a remedy for hyper pigmentation, acne, freckles, and wrinkles.
31. Rejuvenate Your Skin
Figs are great for your skin. Whether you eat them or apply them as a mask, they make your skin beautiful. Here’s a recipe for a mask. Take one large fig or two small figs. Cut the fig in half and scoop out its flesh and mash it thoroughly. Add a teaspoon of honey or yogurt to it if you want to enhance the texture of your skin. Apply the mask on your face and keep it on for 5 minutes. Wash it off with water and say hello to refreshed skin.
32. Cure Boils And Warts
You can apply a fig directly on the skin to bring down various forms of skin inflammation like boils and abscess. A study found that the latex of the fig tree exhibited antiwart activity. This could be due to the proteolytic activity of the latex enzymes.
35. Make Your Skin Soft And Supple
Figs contain a high amount of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps to lighten and even out the skin tone. Blend five figs to get a smooth paste. Add a teaspoon each of powdered oatmeal and milk and half a teaspoon of dried ginger powder to it. Mix well to form a smooth paste. Use this face pack twice a week to get soft and smooth skin.
36. Condition Hair
Figs are very popular in the hair care industry as their extracts are used to create amazing hair conditioners. These extracts provide moisture to the scalp and help in the detangling of hair. They moisturize the hair without making it heavy or weighed down.
37. Promote Hair Growth
Hair loss usually occurs due to lack of proper nourishment. Figs contain hair-friendly nutrients like magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamin E which promote hair growth. The essential nutrients present in this fruit stimulate blood circulation in the scalp to accelerate hair growth.
Figs are quite useful in treating various respiratory disorders like whooping cough and asthma. They are also effective digestive aids and are helpful in treating constipation, indigestion, stomach ache, and various other intestinal conditions. They are good for fever, earache, boils, abscesses, venereal diseases, and are excellent for the liver. They have a high level of alkanes and therefore, help regulate the pH of the body. Figs are rich in flavonoids and polyphenols, which are antioxidants that prevent the damage caused by free radicals. They are known for their soothing and laxative properties and are also low in fat and sugar.
Uses of Figs or Anjeer
Figs or anjeers are sweet and soft and their paste is often used as a replacement for sugar. Fig concentrate is also used as a healthier option instead of corn syrup and sucrose. Processed figs, such as fig nuggets and powder, are used to make pies, pudding, cakes, assorted baked goods, jams, jellies, and preserves. Turkish figs are considered a healthy snack and can be added to sweeten energy bars, granola bars, and trail mixes.
How to Select and Store Figs
Since fresh figs are one of the most perishable fruits, they should be purchased only a day or two in advance of when you are planning on eating them. Look for figs that have a rich, deep color and are plump and tender, but not mushy. They should have firm stems and be free of bruises. Smelling figs can also give you clues into their freshness and taste. They should have a mildly sweet fragrance and should not smell sour, which is an indication that they may be spoiled.
For the most antioxidants, choose fully ripened figs: Research conducted at the University of Innsbruck in Austria suggests that as fruits fully ripen, almost to the point of spoilage, their antioxidant levels actually increase. Key to the process is the change in color that occurs as fruits ripen, a similar process to that seen in the fall when leaves turn from green to red to yellow to brown—a color change caused by the breakdown and disappearance of chlorophyll, which gives leaves and fruits their green color.
California figs are available from June through September with the exact timing varying with the variety. Some European figs are often available throughout autumn. When purchasing dried figs, make sure that they are still relatively soft, free of mold, and have a mellow, pleasant smell. Dried figs are available throughout the year.
At WHFoods, we encourage the purchase of certified organically grown foods, and figs are no exception. Repeated research studies on organic foods as a group show that your likelihood of exposure to contaminants such as pesticides and heavy metals can be greatly reduced through the purchased of certified organic foods, including figs. In many cases, you may be able to find a local organic grower who sells figs but has not applied for formal organic certification either through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) or through a state agency. (Examples of states offering state-certified organic foods include California, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.) However, if you are shopping in a large supermarket, your most reliable source of organically grown figs is very likely to be figs that display the USDA organic logo.
Ripe figs should be kept in the refrigerator where they will stay fresh for about two days. Since they have a delicate nature and can easily bruise, you should store them either arranged on a paper towel-lined plate or shallow container. They should be covered or wrapped in order to ensure that they do not dry out, get crushed or pick up odors from neighboring foods. If you have purchased slightly under-ripe figs, you should keep them on a plate, at room temperature, away from direct sunlight. Dried figs will stay fresh for several months and can either be kept in a cool, dark place or stored in the refrigerator. They should be well wrapped so that they are not over exposed to air that may cause them to become hard or dry.
Tips for Preparing and Cooking Figs
Before eating or cooking figs, wash them under cool water and then gently remove the stem. Gently wipe dry. Dried figs can simply be eaten, used in a recipe as is, or simmered for several minutes in water or fruit juice to make them plumper and juicier.
Quick Serving Ideas For Figs
- When preparing oatmeal or any other whole grain breakfast porridge, add some dried or fresh figs.
- Poach figs in juice or red wine and serve with yogurt or frozen desserts.
- Add quartered figs to a salad of fennel, arugula and shaved Parmesan cheese.
- Fresh figs stuffed with goat cheese and chopped almonds can be served as hors d’oeuvres or desserts.
Fig Recipes To Try
1. Fig Jam
- 2 pounds large figs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1 1/2 cups of sugar
- 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
- Toss the fig pieces with sugar in a pan and stir for about 15 minutes. Wait till the sugar gets dissolved, and the figs become juicy.
- Add the lemon juice and water to it and boil. Stir until the sugar dissolves completely.
- Simmer the mixture over moderate heat until it becomes soft and gooey and attains a jam-like texture.
- This process will take about 20 minutes.
- Transfer the jam to jars and let them cool at room temperature with the lids on. Keep the jars in a refrigerator and store for a couple of months.
2. Fig Cake
- 3 cups chopped fresh figs
- 1 egg
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 cup of fat-free milk
- 1 cup of white sugar
- 1/4 cup of water
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 cup of brown sugar
- 1/4 cup of butter
- 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract
- Take a bowl and mix the all-purpose flour, salt, and baking powder in it and keep it aside.
- Preheat your oven to 175o C.
- Take cake pans and spray vegetable oil on them.
- Take another bowl and mix butter and sugar in it until the mixture turns fluffy.
- Add eggs to it and beat well.
- Add flour and milk to it.
- Add vanilla essence, almond extract, and a cup of chopped figs to the bowl.
- Pour this mixture into the pans and bake in the oven till you see the cake puffing.
- Place a toothpick in the batter and bake till the toothpick comes out. This will take about 30 minutes. Take the cake out and let it cool.
- To make a topping, take a pan and mix two cups of chopped figs, brown sugar, water, and lemon juice. Boil it until the paste thickens, which would take about 20 minutes. Spread the dough evenly onto the cake.
- The recipes are great. But one must also know where to get these fruits from, right?
Where To Buy Figs
You can easily purchase figs from any major grocery or convenience stores. You are more likely to find dried figs in these stores. Also, if you are lucky, you will chance upon fresh figs in the fruit section. You can also procure them online.
How To Include Figs In Your Diet
Figs are incredibly juicy and sweet and have a chewy flesh and crunchy seeds. They are consumed in both the raw and dry forms. Fresh figs are more nutritious than their dry counterparts, so try to include more of them in your diet. Sweet and juicy figs should be enjoyed without any additions to enjoy their taste to the fullest.
Before eating or using figs, wash them under running water and gently remove the stem. You can eat fresh figs whole or peeled. Simmer frozen figs in water to make them plumper and juicier. Dried figs travel well, which makes them excellent snacks you can have on-the-go. They can also be used in sandwiches – you can add chopped figs and dried cranberries to chicken salad sandwiches – or leafy green salads. Enjoy sliced fresh figs on their own or pair them with an ounce of cheese for a more decadent snack.
Puree figs and combine them with balsamic vinegar and olive oil for a healthful and flavorful homemade salad dressing. Fresh figs are an excellent addition to salads, cakes, and ice creams.
Since figs are highly alkaline, you can mix them with other foods. It will not alter their taste in any way. Dried figs have much higher sugar content than the fresh ones, so you can chop and add them to desserts and other sweet dishes to add a touch of sweetness. Processed figs are used in making pies, pudding, cakes, jams, and other bakery products while dried figs are used for preparing muesli bars, porridge, and as an addition to cereals and porridges. You can also add dried figs to soups, stews, and meat preparation to enhance the taste. The paste of figs is also used as a sugar substitute in some regions.
Some Important Tips
- Use fresh figs for best results.
- Always wash the fruits thoroughly and gently.
- When cutting or chopping, dip the knife in warm water to prevent the figs from sticking to it.
- Avoid consuming limp figs.
- If dried figs have become too hard, try soaking them in water.
- Store figs in a bag in the coldest part of the fridge.
Facts About Figs
- Figs were used as training food during early Olympics. The winners were also honored with figs, making them the first Olympic medal.
- Figs made their first commercial appearance in 1892.
- Fig trees do not have any flowers. The flowers are inside the fruits. The crunchy taste of figs is due to the edible seeds produced by the flowers.
- Figs ripen and partially dry on the trees.
- Figs hold the moisture in baked goods and help keep them fresh.
- You can use fig puree to replace fat in baked goods.
- California produces 100% of America’s dried figs and 98% of fresh figs.
- Eating half a cup of figs is as good as drinking half a cup of milk.
Negative Effects of Figs
Figs or Anjeer is a fruit that grows on the flowering plant of the same name and belongs to Mulberry. It is native to the Middle East and Western Asia but is now grown in many parts of the world as an important commercial crop. Figs are a good source of a number of vitamins,minerals,antioxidants, flavonoid, dietary fibers etc. and the presence of these compounds make them very beneficial for our health as well as for our skin and hair . Although figs provide a lot of health and beauty benefits but there are also some side effects of figs that arise mainly when figs are consumed in excess quantity. In this article, we will know about these side effects in detail.
Heavy On Stomach
Overeating of figs can be heavy on the stomach and can cause stomach ache. While for those suffering from constipation can benefit from it, it might end in bad stomach for others. Drinking cold water after eating figs helps with stomach-related issues.
Apart from stomach ache, figs cause bloating. Drinking aniseed water helps to cure the problem.
While figs are useful in treating chronic skin diseases and also beneficial in the treatment of skin tumor, it can harm the skin by increasing its sensitivity to sun rays. UV rays are harmful for the skin and can result in conditions like premature aging, melanoma and skin cancer. It can also result in skin rashes. Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun if you consume figs regularly to avoid skin related problems.
Harms Liver And Intestines
Figs can be harmful for the liver. They can also cause obstruction in the intestines because of their seeds. While it may not seem so while eating, the seeds present in figs are hard enough to get digested easily. This is one of the most dangerous figs side effects that one should be aware of.
Figs contain oxalates, which interfere with the absorption of calcium in the body. This interference results in deficiency of calcium in our body, which can lead to weak bones and other diseases, related to calcium deficiency.
Anjeer is warm in nature and can cause bleeding. Overeating of figs can result in retinal bleeding, rectal bleeding, and a slight vaginal bleeding. It can also result in haemolytic anaemia. In case of rectal and vaginal bleeding, stop eating figs and see if the bleeding stops. If not, then check with your doctor.
Lowers Blood Sugar Level
Figs lower the blood sugar level in the body. This helps the diabetic patients but can be harmful for those suffering from low blood sugar level. If you are suffering from low blood sugar level, avoid eating figs.
If you are allergic to figs, it can cause conjunctivitis, rhinitis and anaphylactic shock. It can also cause asthma. Check if you have any allergic problem to figs before consuming them.
Oxalates present in figs are harmful for those who are already suffering from kidney or gallbladder problems and diseases. In this case consumption of fig can worsen the condition. Figs also harm the spleen, which is responsible for producing white blood cells.
Increases Skin Sensitivity To Sun
Figs are very beneficial when it comes to treatment of chronic skin diseases and for reducing the risk of skin tumor. This benefit of figs is mainly due to the presence of antioxidants in them. These antioxidants fights with the free radicals of our body, stabilize them and thus prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our skin cells. However, even after this benefit, figs is not so good for our skin.
This is because figs increase the sensitivity of our skin to the sun. UV rays are very harmful to our skin and by increasing the sensitivity of our skin towards the sun, figs increase the risk of conditions like premature aging, melanoma, and skin cancer. Sometimes it can even result in skin rashes. If you are consuming figs on a regular basis then you should avoid prolonged exposure to the sun.
Increases The Risk Of Calcium Deficiency
Eating too many figs are bad for our bones because of the oxalates present in them. These oxalates interfere the absorption of calcium in our body and give rise to calcium deficiency. Deficiency of calcium can make our bones weak and brittle, and also increases the risk of development of Osteoporosis and hypocalcemia. Calcium deficiency can even give rise to symptoms like memory loss, muscle spasms, hallucinations, depression, numbness and tingling sensation in hands, feet and face. (source).
Can Cause Retinal, Rectal And Vaginal Bleeding
Another important reason to avoid over consumption of figs or Anjeer is their warm nature. Eating too many figs can result in retinal bleeding, rectal bleeding and a slight vaginal bleeding too. In some cases, it can even result in hemolytic anemia. ( Anaemia caused by abnormal breakdown of red blood corpuscles). The best way to avoid the situation is to always eat figs in limited quantity. If you have eaten too many figs and are facing problems like rectal and vaginal bleeding, then stop eating figs immediately. If the bleeding continues,consult with your doctor.
Increases The Risk Of Hypoglycemia
Eating figs is very beneficial for the people suffering from diabetes because of their ability to lower blood sugar level in the body. This advantage of figs can be a disadvantage for those who already suffering from low blood sugar level. In the same way, you should avoid figs if you are suffering from diabetes and already taking medication to lower the blood sugar level.
This is because consuming figs along with the diabetes medicines will lower the blood sugar level to a dangerously low level and give rise to hypoglycemia, which includes symptoms like blurred vision, rapid heartbeat, sudden nervousness, headache,hunger,shaking, pale skin, trouble focusing etc. (source).
Harmful For Individuals Suffering Kidney And Gallbladder Problems
Figs are not at all suitable for the individuals who are suffering from kidney or gallbladder problems and diseases. This is because figs contain oxalates and consuming figs while suffering from kidney and gallbladder problem can worsen the situation. In addition to this, figs can even harm our spleen, which plays an important role in the production of white blood cells. As white blood cells are an important part of our immune system so by harming our spleen, figs in a way harm our immune system.
Harmful For the Individuals Who Have To Undergo Surgery
Eating figs can lower the blood sugar level in our body. This is a point of concern as figs might interfere with the blood sugar control during and after surgery. For this reason, it is advised to stop consuming figs at least two weeks prior to and after scheduled surgery.
So, these are the side-effects that can result from overeating of figs. You can avoid most of them if you eat only the required amount without heeding to the demands of your tongue. But if you are suffering from any allergic reaction and low blood sugar level, then you should avoid figs and consult your doctor to know more about figs benefits and side effects.
Safety Of Figs
Figs contain high levels of oxalates. Eating excessive amounts of figs is likely to have a laxative effect and so they should be enjoyed in moderation