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I love figs. Every year, I patiently wait until late summer early fall when fresh figs start showing up in my health food store’s produce section. I’m not sure what it is about figs that I love. I don’t like dried figs — only fresh. It must be that they are one of the produce items that we literally cannot get year round. They truly are only available, at least here in Colorado, when they are in season. California figs are in season from June through late September. They start showing up on grocery store shelves here in mid-to late July most years.
The taste and texture of fresh figs are nothing less than unique. I think the texture is one of the things I love. The flesh is soft, but the seeds are super crunchy. Figs are an excellent source of potassium and calcium, as well as dietary fiber. I did not know that fig leaves are sometimes used for culinary applications and they are actually helpful for diabetics. According to The World’s Healthiest Foods:
The leaves of the fig have repeatedly been shown to have antidiabetic properties and can actually reduce the amount of insulin needed by persons with diabetes who require insulin injections. In one study, a liquid extract made from fig leaves was simply added to the breakfast of insulin-dependent diabetic subjects in order to produce this insulin-lowering effect.
Figs are not very shelf-stable, so when purchasing fresh, you need to use within a day or so. You want to select figs that are rich in color, plump and tender, but not mushy. Fully ripened figs (a rich, dark purple hue) will have the most antioxidants. Store them in the fridge.
Fresh figs have a multitude of uses, from fresh to cooked. Two of my favorite ways (besides this delicious dessert recipe) to eat figs are:
- Fresh Figs with Cheese and Walnuts – The make a delicious, quick snack or appetizer.
- Pan Seared Chicken with Garlic Spinach and Balsamic Fig Sauce Recipe – A fancy sounding dinner idea that is a cinch to fix!
This dessert is so simple to make and tastes amazing. It’s perfect for after a summertime meal and won’t leave you feeling overly full and weighed down from dessert. If your don’t like ricotta, you could use yogurt, sour cream, crème fraîche, or even vanilla ice cream would be heavenly.
Orange Honey Balsamic Glazed Figs with Ricotta
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8 fresh figs, cut in half
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup organic orange juice
1/4 cup mild honey
zest of one organic orange
dash of sea salt
1. In a small frying pan, heat 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil over medium heat. Add the figs, sliced side down. Cook for 2-4 minutes, or until the figs are soft and the sliced side is browned.
2. Remove the figs from the pan and add your orange juice, balsamic vinegar, and honey. Whisk the mixture until the honey is completely dissolved.
3. Reduce heat to low or medium-low and simmer (uncovered) until it is reduced by about half. Be careful to keep an eye on it and don’t let it burn.
4. Place a scoop of ricotta (or ice cream, crème fraîche, etc.) in the center of your bowl and then top with a couple of the seared figs and a drizzle of the balsamic glaze. If you’re dairy free or autoimmune, try these over some of my rich and creamy coconut milk yogurt.
Looking for more delicious fig recipes?
Here are some from around the Web that look delicious!
- Balsamic, Ricotta & Fresh Fig Gelato from Whole Foods on a Budget
- Fresh Fig & Gorgonzola Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette from Whole Foods on a Budget
- Bacon Wrapped Figs with Honey and Almond Butter from Taylor Made it Paleo
- Sticky Fig Bars from Taylor Made it Paleo
- Marinated Fig Salad with Blue Cheese and Walnuts from Brooke’s Kitchen
- Seared Sea Scallops with Fig Balsamic Glaze from She Cooks, He Cleans
- Fall Fig Crumble from Sarah Lynn Smile
- Fig and Grapefruit Cheesecake from A Girl Worth Saving
- Chocolate Figs from Mango y Sal
- Pumpkin Pancakes with Toasted Figs and Warm Maple Syrup from The Adventures of Pip
What is your favorite recipe for figs? Leave a comment below!