EVER since fig leaves were used to patch up that awkward predicament in the Garden of Eden, these shapely fruits have been associated with sensuality. If their flavour doesn’t seduce you, their health benefits will.
Figs are prized for their fragrant sweetness and exquisite texture, but they provide as much nutritional substance as sensory delight. They contain useful amounts of minerals including calcium, manganese and potassium. However, it is their high fibre content that makes them a smart choice to help keep digestion regular.
The edible parts that we call “fruits” are actually succulent flowers and they are extremely delicate. Select the plumpest figs without any signs of bruising, and eat them skinned or whole within two days of purchase. They make a sumptuous dessert sprinkled with nuts and cinnamon, but are equally satisfying as a salad ingredient. Stew riper figs with spice to add a sweet fibre-boost to plain yoghurt or morning oats instead of adding cane sugar.
Short And Sweet
Fresh figs are only available until the end of April, but do not despair — dried figs are an excellent stand-in for that fibre fix. Choose sun-dried figs that have not been treated with sulphur dioxide. They may be less voluptuous, but they are much kinder to the body. The season may be short, but that’s all the more reason to yield to temptation. — Daniel Jardim
This article originally appeared in the March 12 2017 Sunday Times.