Updated: Mar 31
FoodPairing with purpose® for Figs
Figs are a sweet, edible fruit that are grown throughout the world. They are eaten fresh, dried, or in jams and other recipes. They’re commonly added to cookies and other baked goods, but also eaten on their own. They pair with a large variety of different foods, but some pairings have more health benefits than others.
A History of Figs
It’s commonly believed that figs originated in the Middle East in ancient times. They may have been one of the first fruits cultivated by humans[i]. This probably occurred as early as 4000 BC[ii]. Figs spread with the Greeks and the Romans throughout the Mediterranean region[iii]. The earliest European settlers in North America grew them in what is now Florida in the 1500s and at the Jamestown settlement in modern Virginia by 1621[iv]. They are now grown and eaten around the world.
Health Benefits of Figs
High in fibre... can aid digestion and help maintain a healthy body weight.
Figs contain a variety of vitamins and nutrients, including magnesium, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin B6, and vitamin K. They are also rich in copper, which is vital for a healthy metabolism, as well as important for blood cell and connective tissue formation[v].
Figs are also a good source of potassium and calcium, which means they can help improve bone density. This is especially important for those who are at risk of osteoporosis[vi].
There are also high levels of antioxidants in figs, which can prevent cell damage and eliminate toxins from the body[vii]. They are also high in fibre, which can aid digestion and help maintain a healthy body weight[viii].
Figs can be eaten fresh, but they are often dried. However, dried figs are much higher in sugar and calories. This is because the sugar is concentrated during the drying process[ix].
What Pairs Well with Figs?
As mentioned, figs are commonly used in many recipes and paired with many other foods. However, at Foodpairing with Purpose, we aim to provide information on combinations that not only taste great, but that also provide strong health benefits.
Here are some combinations that you may want to try.
Figs + Pears
o This combination can relieve chest congestion and help with coughs. Pears contain a good amount of vitamin C, which can help boost your immune system[x]. Pears are also a great source of dietary fibre[xi], as are figs. This can help improve gut health and aid your digestive system[xii].
Figs + Chestnuts
o Chestnuts are high in vitamin C and a good source of antioxidants[xiii]. They can help aid your digestive system, control your appetite, reduce the number of calories you eat. Eating chestnuts along with figs can help with weight loss, strengthen your bones, and eliminate fatigue.
How to Eat and Store Figs
or, slice fresh figs and placing them on your eyelids before you go to sleep can moisturize your face and prevent bags under the eyes.
Figs are very perishable and have a short shelf life[xiv]. They only last about two or three days when stored at room temperature and about a week in the refrigerator. Keeping moisture away from figs when storing them is important.
Wrap each fig with paper and put it in the refrigerator. This will allow them to last for about a week. If you wish to eat the figs for longer, it is recommended to make dried figs, preserved fruits, jams, juices, etc.
Like papaya, figs can not only be used as fresh fruit, but also be used to cook dishes. When cooked, they may last longer than when they are fresh. However, drying or freezing figs will extend their life longer.
Figs can also be processed, dried, preserved in jams and jellies, used in fruit juice, tea, and cider, and much more. Dried figs have no chemical additives. They have a strong and sweet taste that makes them very popular dried. Fig juices and drinks have a unique fragrance, which produces saliva and quenches thirst, and is suitable for all ages.
In addition to eating figs ripe, dried, or in meals, there are also other ways to receive their benefits. For instance, cutting fresh figs into slices and placing them on your eyelids before you go to sleep can moisturize your face and prevent bags under the eyes.
Who Should Avoid Figs?
Those who have a birch pollen allergy may be allergic to figs, and they should not eat them. In addition, since figs contain vitamin K, they may interfere with some blood thinning medicationsv.
Those who have fatty liver issues, who have cerebrovascular problems, suffer from frequent diarrhea, or who have hypokalemic periodic paralysis, should not consume figs. In addition, people with thin stool may wish to avoid eating figs raw.
Besides serving the fig and pear jam on toast, it also great to make it as tea. Simply take a tablespoon and mix it with water, and add some ice if you want to enjoy it cold.
Fig and Pear Jam
1 lb small ripe figs, stemmed and diced
2 ripe Bosc pears, peel and diced
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup honey
1. In a small pot, add figs, pears and sugar to cook for 30 minutes.
2. Let it cool, and fold in honey.
[i] Eating Well. Retrieved 2022 September 12. The Health Benefits of Figs. https://www.eatingwell.com/article/7527644/the-health-benefits-of-figs/ [ii] South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 2022 September 12. Curious About the Origin of the Fig? Its History is Not Cut and Dried. https://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/fl-xpm-2001-08-09-0108070377-story.html [iii] The Spruce Eats. Retrieved 2022 September 12. The History of Figs. https://www.thespruceeats.com/history-of-figs-1807598 [iv] American Heart Association. Retrieved 2022 September 13. Are figs good for you? Get the whole sweet story https://www.heart.org/en/news/2021/08/05/are-figs-good-for-you-get-the-whole-sweet-story [v] Healthline. Retrieved 2022 September 12. All You Need to Know About Figs. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/figs-benefits [vi] WebMD. Retrieved 2022 September 13. Health Benefits of Figs. https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-figs [vii] VeryWell Fit. Retrieved 2022 September 13. Fig Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits. https://www.verywellfit.com/calories-in-figs-nutrition-and-health-benefits-4109063 [viii] LiveStrong. Retrieved 2022 September 13. 5 Health Benefits of Dried Figs That Will Entice You. https://www.livestrong.com/article/404192-health-benefits-of-dried-figs/ [ix] Healthily. Retrieved 2022 September 13. What are the health benefits of figs? https://www.livehealthily.com/healthy-diet/what-are-the-health-benefits-of-figs [x] National Library of Medicine. Retrieved 2022 September 12. Systematic Review of Pears and Health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4657810/ [xi] Healthline. Retrieved 2022 September 13. 9 Health and Nutrition Benefits of Pears. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-pears [xii] Self. Retrieved 2022 September 13. 36 High-Fiber Foods You Should Be Eating. https://www.self.com/gallery/15-foods-with-a-shockingly-high-amount-of-fiber [xiii] WedMD. Retrieved 2022 September 13. Chestnuts: Health Benefits, Nutrition, and Uses. https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-chestnuts [xiv] MasterClass. Retrieved 2022 September 13. How to Store Figs: 3 Ways to Store Figs. https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-store-figs