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Living Well In Yalobusha County

Figs can trace their history back to the earliest of times with mentions in the Bible and other ancient writings. They are thought to have been first cultivated in Egypt. Figs were later introduced to other regions of the Mediterranean by ancient conquerors and then brought to the Western Hemisphere by the Spaniards in the early 16th Century. In the late 19th Century, when Spanish missionaries established the mission in San Diego, California, they also planted fig trees. These figs turned out to be inferior in quality to those that were imported from Europe, and it wasn’t until the development of further cultivation techniques in the early 20th century that California began focused cultivation and processing of figs. Today, California remains one of the largest producers of figs in addition to Turkey, Greece, Portugal and Spain. 

How to Select and Store

Since fresh figs are one of the most perishable fruits, they should be purchased only a day or two in advance of when you are planning on eating them. Look for figs that have a rich, deep color and are plump and tender, but not mushy. They should have firm stems and be free of bruises. Smelling figs can also give you clues into their freshness and taste. They should have a mildly sweet fragrance and should not smell sour, which is an indication that they may be spoiled. 

For the most antioxidants, choose fully ripened figs:  

California figs are available from June through September with the exact timing varying with the variety. Some European figs are often available throughout autumn. When purchasing dried figs, make sure that they are still relatively soft, free of mold, and have a mellow, pleasant smell. Dried figs are available throughout the year. 

Ripe figs should be kept in the refrigerator where they will stay fresh for about two days. Since they have a delicate nature and can easily bruise, you should store them either arranged on a paper towel-lined plate or shallow container. They should be covered or wrapped in order to ensure that they do not dry out, get crushed or pick up odors from neighboring foods. If you have purchased slightly under-ripe figs, you should keep them on a plate, at room temperature, away from direct sunlight. Dried figs will stay fresh for several months and can either be kept in a cool, dark place or stored in the refrigerator. They should be well wrapped so that they are not over exposed to air that may cause them to become hard or dry.


Tips for Preparing and Cooking

Before eating or cooking figs, wash them under cool water and then gently remove the stem. Gently wipe dry. 

Dried figs can simply be eaten, used in a recipe as is, or simmered for several minutes in water or fruit juice to make them plumper and juicier. 

Nutritional Profile

Figs are a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6, copper, potassium, manganese and pantothenic acid. 

Other interesting facts about figs:

1. There are over 750 known species of figs.

2. A serving of 3 large, fresh figs has 140 calories and 5.5 grams of dietary fiber.

3. Fresh figs contain about 25 calories per ounce whereas fig cookies contain about 110 calories per ounce.

4. Almost 100% (98%) of the supply of figs in the US come from California.

5. A 3 ½ oz. serving of dried figs gives you 162 mg of calcium, which is 16% of the Daily Value.

6. Figs do best in hot, dry climates like the Mediterranean.

Article Source: Adapted from: https://foodandhealth.com

SAVE THE DATE

The 4-H FCS Club will meet on Thursday, August 23, at 4 p.m. at the Extension office. The program will be on Safety on Social Media and will be presented by Allyson Coleman. The club is free and open to youth ages 8-18.

The Looped with Love Crochet MHV Club will meet on Thursday, August 23, at 10 a.m.  The group is led by Karol Jarmon. You will need to bring the yarn of your choice and a crochet hook.  This is a great opportunity for beginners to learn how to crochet, as well as, a good time for more experienced people to get ideas for new projects, or finishing existing projects.

A Child Caregivers Training is scheduled Saturday, August 25, from 8 to 10 a.m.  The topic is Bringing Literacy to Life.  The cost is $5 per participant and can be paid with cashier’s check or money order.  Space is limited.  Call the Extension Office at 675-2730 for more information.

Healthy You exercise classes meet on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the Extension Office. The classes are free. Make sure to wear cool comfortable clothes, good walking shoes and bring some water to drink. 

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