You've probably heard of Fig Newtons cookies or figgy pudding sung in a Christmas carol, and if you don't give a feather or fig--you may grow up to be a pig (Swinging on a Star lyrics). But what's the story about this ancient Babylonian fruit mentioned in literature dating to 2000 B.C.? Like the pomegranate, there's even speculation that figs could have been the forbidden biblical fruit, not the apple. Figs were sacred in ancient Rome, consumed by athletes training for the earliest Olympic games in Greece, and was reported to be the favorite fruit of Cleopatra.
In California figs are slowly making in-roads to dinner tables, in health shakes, farmers markets and in the kitchens of fine restaurants.
TYPES OF FIGS
Mission - Late May through late November
Sierra - Late May through November
Brown Turkey - Late June through Early January
Calimyrna - Early July through September
Kadota - Early July through September
California is the U.S. Fig Capitol. All dried figs harvested in the United States are grown in California's Central Valley. California Dried Fig (average 28 million pounds annually)
California Figs are farmed on 9,300 acres mainly in Madera, Fresno and Merced counties with some in Kern. Many of the producers are small business owners, while others are diversified and produce other agriculture commodities. There are five processors of figs.
Figs contain Fiber - A 1/2-cup serving of dried figs contains 7.3 g of fiber. Dried figs contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. Dietary fiber slows digestion for appetite and blood sugar levels control and also helps lower blood levels of cholesterol.
Figs contain calcium - more than other fruits, approx. 121 mg inside a 1/2-cup serving. One serving of dried figs meets 12 % of your daily value for calcium, nearly as good as 1 cup of unpacked cottage type cheese.
Figs lowers blood pressure - Consuming dried figs help meet potassium needs and help decrease blood pressure. A 1/2-cup serving of dried figs contains 507 mg of potassium. One serving of dried figs meets 10% of daily potassium needs.
Figs supply iron - 1/2-cup of dried figs contains 1.5 mg of iron. Iron is a vital mineral needed to help transport oxygen inside your blood. People need between 8 & 18 mg of iron each day.
Figs control diabetes - helps lower the sugar levels within the blood.
Figs promote weight reduction - dietary fibers help reduce body weight
Figs are heart healthy - low sodium and extremely high potassium and magnesium, figs control and lowers blood pressure level.
Figs help prevent cancer - figs supply essential fatty acids in the form of omega 3 and omega 6. Fig fiber can clean out the cancer causing substances from your system and reduce the chances of colon cancer and cancer of the breast.
Figs good for skin -contain antioxidants for anti-aging. Mashed figs