- Figs are high in natural sugars, minerals and fibre. They are rich in minerals including potassium, calcium, magnesium and copper and antioxidant vitamins A, E and K that contribute to lowering the risk of osteoporosis and hypertension.
- Figs are a natural laxative and contain prebiotics, which help improve digestion.
- Figs are among the oldest fruits on earth and were so prized by the Greeks, they banned the export of this fruit.
- The fig is unique in botany because it among the only 'fruits' where the edible portion is the stem not the matured ovary.
- Turkey is the largest producer of figs. In India it is a minor crop and Poona figs are India's most popular. Recently a new variety called Dinkar in the Mangalore area has said to produce a better quality fig.
- BUYING AND STORING FIGS
- Buy figs green or ripe purple but avoid figs that are marked or mushy.
- The season for fresh figs is between summer and Fall but in India it is even shorter with limited supply in May, November and December. Figs have a short shelf life, in warm weather keep them refrigerated when fresh and wash only when you are ready to eat.
- Dried figs will keep for much longer but are also best refrigerated in warm weather. Figs, unless raw, are seldom peeled.
- Figs pair well with red wine, honey, nuts, apples, spices like cinnamon, paprika, soft cheeses like ricotta and blue cheese and are delicious is salads, as jams and chutneys, in cakes and puddings.
- Serves 12
- 12 RIPE BUT FIRM FIGS WHOLE WITH STALKS, WASHED
- 750 ml BOTTLE RED WINE OR ORANGE JUICE
- ½ CUP GOLDEN HONEY
- 1 3 -INCH STICK CINNAMON
- 2 CLOVES
- Combine wine or orange juice, honey and spices in 9-10 inch wide and 3-4 inch deep saucepan. Place figs in an upright position in the liquid.
- Cover with a piece of wax or parchment paper. Press down gently on the paper to ensure the figs are all submerged in liquid.
- Cook on a slow flame about 30-35 minutes until figs are soft and tender. Remove wax paper.
- Using a slotted spoon remove figs from the hot liquid and place in a bowl.
- Let the liquid continue to cook until it forms a thick and sticky but pourable syrup.
- Remove the cloves and the cinnamon and pour the sticky syrup over the figs.
- Serve warm figs with cream or crème anglaise and if you are vegan as is or with a vanilla sorbet.
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