By the end of Ramadan, most of us fasting Muslims have completely filled our status quo of date consumption for the month, and perhaps much of the year. It’s that fruit with which we most commonly break our fasts all month long, so they’re typically consumed daily, and in more ways than one.

Photo courtesy of Valley Fig Growers

To celebrate the sweet end of the fasting month, however, it would be wise to continue to include all natural fruits in our celebratory meals and desserts- and Valley Fig Growers California Figs, sold under Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid brands are the perfect ones to make the cut. Those of you who have followed my work for some time now know that I’m a huge supporter of California produce and how much I love things that come from there. Valley Fig Growers cultivate their figs from Fresno and the San Joaquin Valley in northern California.

They’re also the largest handlers of figs in North America, exporting their products worldwide, and they’re a grower-owned cooperative, which means the folks who grow the figs own the establishment and thus understand what it means to be connected to the land and the importance of product that comes from it- and that is beneficial not only for them, but also for us as consumers.

The Fig in the Holy Qur’an

Photo courtesy of Valley Fig Growers

We know that the fig is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an as well as other religious texts such as the Bible, so it is perceived by worshippers as not just a healthy fruit, but also a divine gift from The Creator, along with other fruits like dates, bananas, pomegranate, and the olive. In Surah (Chapter) at-Tin, Allah (God) says, “I swear by the fig and the olive.” (Quran, 95:1)

Brief Fig History

Photo courtesy of Valley Fig Growers

Ficus carica L., the botanical name for the fig, is said to have originated in northern Asia Minor or Turkey and spread with the Greeks and the Romans throughout the Mediterranean region and were highly revered in both the Greek and Roman empires. They were so prized for their nutritional and medicinal value in the Greek empire that the best varieties of figs were banned from being exported.

With California’s Mediterranean climate, it’s no surprise that figs thrive there, having been brought to southern California by Spanish Franciscan missionaries in 1520, who then cultivated what we now know as the Mission fig.

A fascinating fact is that the fig isn’t actually a fruit but a syconium, which means a portion of its stem expands into a sac containing flowers that grow internally. The common fig contains only female flowers and propagates without pollination.

You can read more fascinating facts about figs here.

Nutrition Facts of Figs

We all hear about how important it is to add fiber into our diet, but do we really ever feel excited about that? No, because we need delicious ways to do that, without stressing over how it’s going to taste. Healthy doesn’t have to be hard, and figs are the ideal fruit to incorporate healthy fiber into your diet. At two grams of both soluble and insoluble fiber per fig, dried figs have 20% of the daily suggested intake of fiber, giving your body a protective edge against the development of colon cancer.

Figs regulate blood sugar and help to empty the stomach as they accelerate the digestive system and ensure its regular functioning.

Dried figs contain the all-important omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids as well as phytosterol (naturally occurring plant sterols found in plant cell membranes) aiding in proper functioning of the heart, brain and nervous system.

Figs do not naturally contain fat, sodium or cholesterol, so they are ideal for those who are watching their caloric and sodium intake.

Figs have a wonderful amount of calcium in them, second in content to oranges! In fact, a crate of figs contains the same level of calcium as a crate of milk. They also contain 7% of the daily required amount of potassium and 6% of the daily requirement of iron. They’re truly a super food!

Long deemed as a medicinal food, figs are thought to give strength and energy to the human body. They are high in natural sugars (out of 51-74% of all fruits).

Fig tips & recipe suggestions

Now that you know how wonderful and healthy figs are for you, you’ll want to include them in your Eid dishes and beyond. Here are a few suggestions as to how you can do that both quickly and easily.

  • Create a party platter for guests by adding California Figs, other dried fruits and nuts as a snack or appetizer
  • Add sliced California Figs to a meaty antipasto tray so that guests can enjoy them with or on a sandwich
  • Having overnight guests during the Eid holidays? Chop up a few California Figs and serve as a filling addition to cereals and oatmeal and/or prepare ahead with these delicious smoothie packets combinations.
  • As a midnight snack 1-2 California Figs can be quite satisfying!
  • Craving something a little ‘meatier’? Add sliced California Figs to toast with cheese. Totally yum!
  • Diced California Figs can be a wonderful addition to thick and creamy yogurt, which can be served as a snack or a dessert, even on Eid buffet bars.
  • Use California figs to make a delicious stuffing for whole chicken, which is perfect for a sit-down Eid family dinner.
  • Slice figs thinly and add to salads to make them both healthy and more beautiful!
  • For an easy, elegant dessert, slice California Figs in half and plate with the flesh facing upwards. Top with fresh cream, light whipped cream cheese, kaymak, creme fraiche or mascarpone. Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts or walnuts.

For more fig recipes, visit the Valley Fig Growers recipe page here.

Storage Tips

Valley Fig Growers sells their California Figs through the brands, Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice and Sun-Maid. While fresh fig season is short, their moist, dried California Figs can be enjoyed year-round. Keep the figs in their packaging, close tightly and store for up to one month. If opened, store in the refrigerator. They can keep for up to a year this way. They can be frozen indefinitely, if store in a properly sealed freezer container.

To get the best California figs and support the growers of these delicious and nutritious products, visit the Valley Fig Growers website store or to find a store near you, go here.

We’re giving away some California Figs over on my Instagram page– check it out and enter over there for your chance to win 2 bags of Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice Mission Figlets and 2 bags of Sun-Maid Calimyrna Figs

 References

MiraclesoftheQuran.com

TheSpruceEats.com

EatbyDate.com

Quranvisu.com. Figs mentioned in Qur’an and its Exceptional Health Benefits

Valley Fig Growers

Disclaimer: this information is not suggested as medical advice and should not be taken as such.

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are that of the author and not of the sponsoring company. 

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