The Egyptians, being preoccupied with their digestion, had habit of fasting. The fig, having mild laxative properties, appealed to them as food which was delicious as well as good for them. Figs are rich in calcium, iron, phosphorus and potassium. Vitamin C and the B group vitamins are also present in small quantities. They are also high in fiber. Figs have the highest overall mineral content of all common fruits. A 40 grams serving provides 244 mg of potassium 53 mg of calcium and 1.2 mg of iron. Figs are fat-free, sodium-free and cholesterol-free.
Ants are great pollinators. Because the fig, actually the flower of the fig tree, attract ants through the small opening in the end of the fruit. The ants go in search of the sweetness offered, packing up pollen on their feet. This is brought to the next fruit.
The trade caravan routes of old spread figs far and wide, although possibly not far and wide as the bird population of the world has managed to do over the centuries, with their propensity for eating the seeds through one end and popping them out of the other end with a little dose of fertilizer to ensure their survival in a new place.
Fresh Fig Preserves
Baking Soda : 2 Tsp
Fresh Figs (stems removed) : 5 cups
Water : 1 cup
Granulated Sugar : 1 ½ cups
Butter : 5 Tbsp
Vanilla Essence : 1 Tsp
Sliced Lemon : 1
Lemon juice : 1 Tbsp
Ground Cinnamon : 1 ½ Tsp
Grated fresh ginger : 1 Tsp
Ground cloves : ½ tsp
Salt (optional) : 1 pinch or to taste
Half- pint canning jars with lids and rings 8 Nos.
Dissolve the soda in about 2 quarts of water, and immerse the figs in the treated water in a large bowl. Gently stir to wash the figs, then drain off the water and rinse the figs thoroughly with fresh cool water. Place the figs in to a large pot. Add I cup water, sugar, butter, vanilla extract, lemon, lemon juice, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Very gently stir the mixture to dissolve the sugar, keeping the figs intact as much as possible.
Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat: reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until the figs are golden brown coated in syrup, about one hour. Stir gently a couple of times to keep the figs from burning on to the bottom of the pot. Add a pinch of salt, if desired, to tame the sweetness.
Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Fill the figs into the hot, sterilized jars and top off with syrup, filling the jars to within ¼ inch off the top. Run a knife or a thin spatula around the inside of the jars after they have been filled to remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any food residue. Top with lids, and screw on rings.
Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then carefully lower the jars into the pot using a holder. Leave a 2 inch apart between jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary until the water level is at least 1 inch above the top of the jars. Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot, and process for 15 minutes.
Remove the jars from the stockpot and place onto a cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart, until cool. Once it is cool, press the top of each lid with a finger, ensuring that the seal is tight. Cool in a cool, dark area, and wait at least 2 days before opening.
Spinach Salad with Figs and Feta cheese.
Olive oil : ¼ cup
Lemon Juice : 1 Tbsp
Garlic ( finely chopped) : ½ Tsp
Honey : ¼ Tsp
Pepper : 1/8 Tsp
Spinach stemmed : 1 Pound
Yellow capsicum : 1 (cored, seeded and julienned)
Red onion (thinly sliced) : ½ cup
Feta cheese (crumbled) : ¼ cup
Toasted pecan pieces : ¼ cup
Fresh figs (halved lengthwise): 8
Whisk together oil, lemon juice, garlic, honey and pepper in a large bowl to make the dressing. Add spinach, capsicum and red onions and toss gently to combine. Divide between four plates, and then sprinkle each salad with feta cheese and pecans. Arrange figs on plates with salad and serve.
Turkey breast with Figs.
Cooking oil : 2 Tbsp
Turkey breast pieces : 2
Leeks (white and light green parts) :2
Garlic minced : 2 large cloves
Chicken broth or stock : 1 cup
Fresh figs (cut into half lengthwise) : 1 ½ cups
Salt and pepper to taste.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium- high heat. When pan is hot, add turkey and brown on one side for about 3 minutes. Turn and brown the other side for the same length of time. (Note: The timing will depend on the thickness of your turkey slices. If it is very thin cutlets, cut this time in half). Reduce heat to medium. Stir in leeks and garlic and stir-fry for just a minute to let the veggies start to cook. Add broth/stock, cover the pan and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add figs, stir well, and cover the pan again. You only need to let the figs heat through and become soft, perhaps another 3 minutes. Adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if desired, and serve.
Roast figs with cinnamon
Figs : 12 nos
Thyme : 1 tsp
Clear honey : 3 tbsp
Butter : 25 grams
Orange juice : 1 tbsp
Ground cinnamon : ½ tsp
Preheat the oven to 190 degree Celsius. Put the honey, butter and cinnamon in a small saucepan. Heat gently, stirring, until liquid. Using a small, sharp knife, make a cut like across in the top of each fig, cutting almost down to the base. Place them upright in a roasting pan, splaying them out as you go. Pour the liquid over each one. Roast for 15 minutes. Sprinkle a bit of thyme over each fig. Return to the oven; switch it off, leaving the door ajar. Leave the figs in the oven for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Lamp leg with figs and lemons.
Leg of Lamp (fat trimmed) : 1 (5 to 6lb)
Fresh or dried thyme leaves : 1 tsp
Rosemary sprigs 4or5 or dried rosemary 2 tsp
Black figs ripe : 12
Lemons : 2
Stock : 1 ½ cups
Balsamic Vinegar : 2 tbsp
Whipping cream : ¼ cup
Rinse lamp and pat dry. Sprinkle lightly with salt and set in a shadow 10 by 15 inch pan. Pat thyme all over meat: lay rosemary sprigs in the leg. Rinse figs and lemons, cut figs in half lengthwise through stems and lay, cut side up, around lamp. Trim off and discard ends of lemons, then thinly slice lemons crosswise and discard seeds. Scatter slices over and around figs. Pour the vinegar into pan. Sprinkle fruit with sugar.
Bake in a 400degree regular or convection oven until a thermometer inserted through thickest part of meat to the bone reaches 130 degree, about 1 ½ hours. As liquid evaporates, add more wine to pan to prevent scorching. Occasionally, turn fruit gently. The edges of the pieces should get dark: if fruit starts to scorch, remove pan.
Transfer roast and fruit to a platter and keep warm. Discard rosemary sprigs. Add enough broth to pan to make about ¾ cup juices total, then add cream. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat, stirring to release browned bits. Pour into a small bowl or pitcher. Slice lamp and serve meat and fruit with pan juices, add salt to taste.
For all Receipes Courtesy Friday Times