Fig Recipes

Today Mediterranean Diet present you some information about the healthy properties of figs and two fig recipes.

PROPERTIES

The fig plant (Ficus carica is its scientific name)  belonging to the family Moraceae, has ancient origins  in the middle east; the plant can reach the ‘height of eight meters and is divided into two main types: one produces the early figs that ripen in early spring or, at most, at the end of summer and the other produces so-called normal figs coming instead ripening in late summer. The figs grow in many countries the main, are: United States, Greece, Turkey, Spain and Portugal.

There are more than 150 varieties of figs which are distinguished, in addition to the size, for the colors that can be green, brown, purple and blacks. The most popular varieties are the green and the black.

The fig is composed as the whole fruit in general, mainly of water (about 80%) and 19%  of : protein 0.4%,  fat, sugars and fibers 3.3% . It also contains minerals such as calcium, potassium, iron, sodium and phosphorus and vitamins such as pro-vitamin A, B6, C and PP. And ‘thanks to the presence of these substances that to figs we recognized good therapeutic and nutritional properties since antiquity.

Indeed, the fig is not a true fruit of the plant but a receptacle containing inside motes that represent the real fruits

The good presence of vitamin A, in conjunction with potassium, iron and calcium appears to have beneficial properties for bones and teeth, sight and skin.

The fig has a mild laxative effect and stimulates intestinal peristalsis, contains, in fact, lignin, a substance effective in fighting constipation and other bowel disorders.
Furthermore, this fruit, thanks to its composition, helps the assimilation of nutrients.

The figs are high in sugar easily assimilated and therefore represent a source of energy readily usable by the body. According to the dictates of the Mediterranean diet should be consumed in moderation. The decoction of dried figs has a soothing effect against the attacks of coughing. The fig has anti-inflammatory properties, is then used as a compress on abscesses and boils  and has positive effects on inflammation of the urinary and circulatory systems.

The fig has less calories than many other sugary fruits; normally 100 grams of figs produces about 47 calories. The situation is different with the dried figs; in fact, these, have about 4 times the calories of fresh figs and should be eaten sparingly. For the high sugar content, the fig , is not recommended for those suffering from diabetes.

All these properties make it a fruit of the fig tree particularly suited to the needs of children, athletes and pregnant women.

Poor in fat and totally devoid of cholesterol, the fig contains a good concentration of polifenols, powerful natural antioxidants; These features make it a valuable ally of the heart and blood.

4 ways to integrate the figs in the daily menu

1. Eat them as a snack. Once the package is opened, transfer the figs in a container where the air can enter, for a longer storage.
2. You can add them to cereal or yogurt for breakfast. The figs are good with cheese, also with tofu or even combined with other types of raw cheese, made from nuts and seeds.
3. It can be used in recipes for sweets together with other dried fruits, apricots, dates, sec  prunes and for “tie” cakes with nuts and seeds, thanks to their sticky composition.
4. If them are too dry, you can soak them in water or boil a few minutes to restore their juicy structure when you use them in salads of vegetables or fruit.

If you do not go crazy for dried figs, you can try the raisins, apricots, blueberries or mango.

FIGS IN THE ANCIENT TIME 

The Fig also loved by God. In those days Hezekiah was sick to death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz came to him and spoke to him: Thus saith the Lord: give provisions for your home, because  die and not recover. ” Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord: Up,Lord, remember how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and I accomplished what seems good to you. Hezekiah was a great cry. Before Isaiah came out from the central courtyard, the Lord  said T adorns back and tell Hezekiah, prince of my people, saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; behold, I will heal you; the third day go up to the temple. I will add to the length of your life fifteen years. Will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria, and defend this city for the sake of me and David my servant. Isaiah said, Take a poultice of figs. They took and laid it on the ulcer and the king was cured. This reference and taken from the Bible, this makes us understand how the figs were already known thousands of years ago. There are different colors of figs, blacks, whites and bright green but also yellow variation that can change depending on their ripeness. Use and eating fresh figs when they are in season maggio settembre. When not you can get fresh ones, you can use dried figs.

TYPICAL FIG RECIPES

Syrup of figs (Cuettu figs)

Ingredients:

  • Ripe figs
  • water

Procedure:
Take figs ripe and very sweet, chop, place them in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, cook them until they are reduced to a pulp. Pour the mixture, still hot, in a tightly woven cloth (linen type), which, when closed, will be squeezed vigorously to remove all the liquid as possible (called wine).
Put the resulting liquid (wine) in a stainless steel pot and cook slowly for at least 2 to 3 hours, stirring often with a wooden spoon. The mulled wine will be ready when it is thick and stringy like honey. Bottled it is still hot and when the mixture is cooled close the bottle tightly. Is could be used safely even after a long time from its preparation.

This type of home preparation enables the storage of the product for a couple of years, so that the “vin cotto figs” is prepared evidently in hot / summer, and is then consumed at Christmas the following year.
A typical product, instead of the honey, is the typical “cartellate (‘ncartiddati) Puglia”.

(Recipe provided by Salvatore Leo)

The recipe for risotto with figs and burrata

Rice and figs pairing may seem bold, but in fact already in 1400 this recipe was appreciated. From avid lover of this fruit, then,  I could not escape from proposing my own version taking advantage from the rich fig harvest of  my relatives. The addition of the burrata in creaming is now one of my trademark, but, if you wish, you can replace it with other soft cheese (recommended a more even strong gorgonzola).

Ingredients

250 g Carnaroli rice “Reserve San Massimo”
2 burratine Andria
8-10 figs ripe but firm (depending on size)
1/2 onion
Lemon verbena
Vegetable broth (homemade with celery, carrot and onion)
Approximately 120 g of pork bacon black
Salt and Pepper

Preparation
In a crock pot or copper do sweat the diced bacon with onion chopped fine; Toast the rice and add 3 large spoonfuls of broth. Continue cooking over low heat incorporating the broth as needed.

Meanwhile, wash thoroughly the figs,  whisk a small part. Cut the remaining  in wedges, leaving one from each one for the presentation.
Open burratine engraving the “skin” and keep aside only the tattered interior.
A few minutes before the end of cooking the rice, add the lemon verbena, the “cream” of figs and figs into quarters; season with salt and pepper.
Out of the fire “manteca” (mix)  with “stracciatella” (fromage) retaining at least a tablespoon from each “burratina”; let stand a few minutes covered the “risotto”.
Spread the spoonful of stracciatella over the rice and a fresh fig split.
The contrasts hot / cold and sweet / savory, build a pleasant  and delicate risotto

The team of Mediterranean Diet invites you to the next article to find out the benefits of the Mediterranean diet recipes.

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