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Superfood Spotlight: Figs

There’s a new star on the social media horizon. Not only are figs beautiful to photograph, but they are also an excellent ingredient to pair with both sweet and savory foods. If that isn’t enough to explain their popularity, then their taste and texture will.

 

Origins

 

Millennials’ passion for the fig drives social media posts, so much so that many may believe they discovered this powerful fruit. Not so. People began eating figs about a hundred million years ago at the time of the dinosaurs! And for consumers up to date on their Biblical history, Adam and Eve used the fig leaf as cover when they ran from the Garden of Eden.

 

The Versatile Fruit

 

Figs are naturally sweet, meaty, and gritty. Their tiny seeds add crunch to the palate, and their creamy texture provides a smooth feel as they melt in the mouth. Because they are perishable, they can be dried to preserve them.

 

If consumers are looking for an indulgent snack, this fruit packs a punch. Adding this superfood to a product creates an immediate perception of a healthier choice. It is high in calcium, magnesium, iron, and copper, as well as vitamins A and K. With its antioxidant properties and an excellent source of fiber, every generation is clamoring for this magical fruit.

 

Pairings

 

Figs pair well with both sweet and savory foods.

 

  • Chefs are turning to the fig in pastries, ice cream, and a host of desserts. Fig, raspberry and cardamom pie, honey roasted fig and almond tart, or spiced figs with ginger mascarpone are showing up on menus to consumer’s delight.
  • Menus include entrees that couple the fig with quail, duck, and as a stuffing with apples in pork loin roast. Pizza with figs, fennel, Gorgonzola, and hazelnuts are coming out of wood-burning ovens.
  • Figs compliment an assortment of cheeses that include baked blue cheese with figs and walnuts, Stilton and fig salad with honey-thyme drizzle, or marinated fig and mozzarella salad.

 

Fig Bars for Athletes

 

If the ancient Greeks used figs as their primary training fuel for Olympic games, then the weekend warriors of today are happy to reach for the abundance of health bars containing them in today’s grocery aisles. Figs have anti-inflammatory properties, which help alleviate pain and recover from muscle fatigue, once an intense workout or competition is over. As a true superfood, figs help prevent cramps and optimize hydration, and the potassium helps balance sodium concentration to lower blood pressure.

 

Whether brands target health-conscious consumers or gourmets looking for the latest trend in food, they can’t go wrong with adding figs as a key ingredient.