Fig Me Up! Exploring the goodness of Figs
Figs are the fruit of Fig trees, they are native to the Middle East and some parts of western Asia. It has been cultivated since ancient times and is now widely grown throughout the world. Sought out mainly for its fruit and as an ornamental plant, the fig tree's fruit has long been a good source of food sustaining the ancient community, and is said to be Cleopatra's favourite fruit.
This unique fruit is seasonal, in season usually from the month of August to October. They have a pink flesh, mildly sweet, with a soft and chewy texture, slightly crunchy peel and filled with hundreds of tiny edible seeds.
Figs can be eaten fresh or dried. However, ripe fresh figs once picked are prone to bruising, extremely delicate and do not transport well. Hence, most commercial production of figs is in dried or processed forms, turned into jam, pastry filling or dried as is.
Fig-uring Out Fig
Their unique feature is a little bud-like opening called an ostiole at the top that helps the fruit develop. Their natural sweetness meant that before the days of refined sugar, they were often used as a sweetener. Sounds a lot like one of our most favourite fruits, the date fruit.
Raw figs are 79% water, 19% carbohydrates and 1% protein. Per 100-gram serving they are a moderate source of dietary fibre (74 calories).
When dried to 30% water, figs contain a carbohydrate content of 64%, protein content of 3%, and fat content of 1%. In a 100-gram serving providing 249 calories, dried figs are a rich source of dietary fibre and fulfil 26% of the Daily Value of essential minerals like manganese, with a moderate amount of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin K.
Goodness in Figs
They contain fibre, which may help promote digestive health by softening and adding bulk to stools, decreasing constipation, and serving as prebiotics, or food source for healthy bacteria populating the gut. For those watching their weight especially, this high fibre food provides a feeling of fullness and can hold hunger, longer and satiate cravings.
Figs are a good fruit source of calcium, a mineral that maintains bone density. Their high potassium content may counteract the urinary excretion of calcium caused by over consuming salt in our daily food intake. This in turn helps to retain calcium in bones and lessens the risk of osteoporosis.
There are many parts of Fig you can use that have potential benefits, the most common uses of figs are:
- Fresh figs: Lower in calories and make for a great snack, a delicious addition to salads or desserts. You can also cook up fig jam, or preserves, with fresh figs.
- Dried figs: They are higher in sugar and calories, so they should be eaten in moderation. They may be more effective in treating constipation than fresh figs (9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source).
- Fig leaves: Fig leaves are harder to find if you are not staying within its region of origin. Fig leaves are nutritious and are often used the same way grape leaves are used, as a wrap for dishes containing rice, meat, or other fillings.
- Fig leaf tea is made from dried fig leaves. It is popular among Middle Easterners, and you can make it yourself, or purchase premade fig leaf teas, and enjoy it with your morning breakfast and/or afternoon tea.
While they are extremely tasty, Figs contain high levels of oxalates and excessive consumption may have a laxative effect. Dried figs are higher in sugar content and may increase blood sugar level, so if you are controlling your sugar levels, limit your intake of dried figs. So, like all food, moderation is the key.
Fig lovers know that it can be quite challenging to find it when they are not in season. Good thing with All Kurma's Springdale Cottage dried fig, we can now have it anytime we feel like it.
Visit our E-store and Fig Me Up! : www.allkurma.sg