Fresh Fig and Date Smoothie
It is fig season in New York! And if you are like me and buy far more figs than you need, this recipe is for you! This fresh fig and date smoothie is a thick, naturally sweetened smoothie, and a great way to get rid of the extra figs you have. If loving New York in Autumn was not enough of a reason to enjoy this time of the year, it is also the season where figs take over the supermarkets and farmer’s markets.
I always loved figs, but never knew much about it, and as I decide to posts my favorite fig recipes I found out some really interesting thing! This smoothie is inspired by a recipe I found in the New York Times. I added golden flax seeds for its nutritional value and omega-3 fatty acids, and also creaminess. I really love this recipe! It is a perfect sweet snack that can satisfy the worse sugar craving as it is as sweet as candy, while delivering loads of nutrients. Here I mention a little about the benefits of figs, but let’s not forget how great dates also are!
Fun Fig Facts
- Fig trees have no blossoms on their branches. The blossom is inside of the fruit! Many tiny flowers produce the crunchy little edible seeds that give figs their unique texture.
- Figs are harvested according to nature’s clock, fully ripened and partially dried on the tree.
- Figs naturally help hold in moisture in baked goods, keeping them fresher.
- Fig puree can be used to replace fat in baked goods.
- California grows many varieties of figs, but the two most common are the amber-colored, slightly nutty-flavored Golden and the dark purple, sweet Mission.
- California produces 100% of the nation’s dried figs and 98% of the fresh figs.
- The Spaniards introduced Mission Figs to the California territory in the early 16th century.
- The priests at Mission San Diego originally planted figs in California in 1769. This is how the dark purple fig became known as “Mission.”
- Many believe it was figs that were actually the fruit in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, not apples.
- The early Olympic athletes used figs as a training food. Figs were also presented as laurels to the winners, becoming the first Olympic “medal.”
- In Roman times figs were considered to be restorative. They were believed to increase the strength of young people, to maintain the elderly in better health and to make them look younger with fewer wrinkles. –Pliny (52-113 AD).
- Figs made their first commercial product appearance with the 1892 introduction of Fig Newtons® cookies.
- The fig tree is a symbol of abundance, fertility and sweetness.
- Eating one half cup of figs has as much calcium as drinking one-half cup of milk.
- Ounce for ounce, figs have more fiber than prunes and more potassium than bananas.
There are so many varieties of figs, and the fig season in US is the first few weeks in June to typically August through October.
The most common variety is the Black Mission fig (which hits the supermarkets in late summer and into October) followed by the Brown Turkey fig and the Green Kadota fig. Look for fruit that is slightly soft to the touch with no surface breaks in the skin, and not mushy. Fruit with sap coming out of the opposite end of the stem indicates ripeness and high sugar content.
I immediately remove the fresh figs from the containers to prevent bruising. Give them a quick rinse with cool running water, pat dry, and arrange them in a container or shallow bowl. They will last several days in the refrigerator.
How to Prepare Figs
There are so many way to enjoy this delicious fruit! They are famous in Mediterranean cuisine where they are paired with pork, chicken or lamb. But fresh figs are best eaten raw as snacks or tossed into salads. They are also great sautéed, baked or grilled, baked into pies, cakes or cookies, made into jam, stuffed, pizza and sandwiches, and even in smoothies like this recipe below.
Here is a quick recipe: cut your figs lengthwise, season with maple syrup and cinnamon, and roast them in the oven at 350º for 40 minutes to make a sweet dessert or delicious side dish.
I have many recipes for figs and will be posting them soon, stay tuned!
Figs are a good source of potassium, manganese and dietary fiber.
One major benefit of figs is that they are a naturally fat-free, cholesterol-free food. They are also an excellent source of:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
Nutrients per Serving
One medium (2 ¼ inch) fig contains:
- Calories: 37
- Fat: 0 grams
- Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
- Sodium: 1 milligram
- Carbohydrates: 10 grams
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Sugar: 8 grams
- Protein: 0 grams
My favorite benefit is how satisfying it is to have a few figs when you get a sugar craving. In fact, figs are often used as a sweetener in baking while also providing many important health benefits. Here are some of the health benefits you can expect to enjoy when you eat figs.
Reduce High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can lead to complications like heart disease and stroke. One factor that leads to high blood pressure is a potassium imbalance caused by eating too much sodium and not enough potassium.
Figs are a potassium-rich food and can help correct that imbalance. Meanwhile, high levels of fiber in figs can help to flush excess sodium from the system.
Digestive issues range from constipation to diarrhea. At both ends of the spectrum, increasing fiber intake can help. In addition to their high fiber content, however, figs aid digestion in another way. They are an excellent source of prebiotics, which improve overall gut health.
Increase Bone Density
Figs are a good source of both calcium and potassium. These minerals can work together to improve bone density, which can, in turn, prevent conditions like osteoporosis.
Studies suggest that a potassium-rich diet, in particular, can improve bone health and reduce bone turnover. Meanwhile, calcium is a key structural component of bones, and increasing calcium intake has been shown to improve bone mineral structure in children and adolescents.
this recipe makes one serving!
Fresh Fig and Date Smoothie
- 4 fresh ripe figs about 4 ounces
- 2 Medjool dates (soaked in a cup of water until soft, about 30 minutes)
- ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 tablespoon golden flax seeds
- 4 ice cubes
- A few fig slices for the glass
Place all of the ingredients except the sliced fig in the blender. Blend until frothy, about one minute. Pour into a glass, garnish with fig slices, and serve at once.