This pear-shaped fruit has a thin, edible skin that ranges in colour from pale green to dark purple, or even black, when fully ripe. The soft, sweet flesh is filled with tiny edible seeds and is generally a purple-red colour.
Choose plump-looking figs that feel heavy for their size. They should be soft to the touch, but not mushy. Avoid figs that have split or bruised skin.
Figs don’t last long and should be eaten as soon as possible after purchasing. Ripe figs can be stored in the fridge for only 1–2 days.
Wash figs and trim the stems. Figs are delicious on their own, but you can also add them to salads, pork or chicken dishes or bake them into cakes, muffins and loaves.
4 quick ways with figs
For an easy and deliciously sweet dessert, remove stems from figs and cut a cross into the top of each one. Drizzle a little honey into each cut and bake at 200°C for 15 minutes. Serve with low-fat yoghurt or ice-cream.
To make these easy fig tartlets, cut a sheet of ready-rolled reduced-fat shortcrust pastry into four squares. Spread each square with fig jam, then top with slices of fresh figs. Bake at 180°C until the pastry is crispy and the figs soft (about 10–15 minutes).
For a rustic-looking starter, serve fig toasties. Lightly spray crusty bread with oil and grill until toasted. Spread each slice with fresh reduced-fat ricotta and top with sliced figs and a drizzle of honey. Season with cracked pepper.
Serve this yummy couscous with Moroccan-spiced lamb. In a large saucepan, sauté a small diced zucchini and onion until cooked. Add ground coriander and cinnamon (1 teaspoon each) and cook for 1 minute more. Add 3/4 cup boiling water and 2/3 cup couscous. Stir to combine, cover and remove from heat. Stand for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, quarter fresh figs and chargrill or pan-fry until soft and juicy. Add to couscous, with ¼ cup toasted pine nuts, just before serving.
Did you know? Figs are an excellent source of dietary fibre and a good source of vitamins A, E and K.