The Magnanimous Fig
I am having something of a Baader-Meinhof moment with figs. Baader-Meinhof is the phenomenon in which you learn of something, and then it comes up a bunch of times afterwards. Of course I’m not just now learning about figs, but they’re never really on my radar. Or, they weren’t until a few weeks ago. My grandma, who walks her dogs six times a day, seems to have added a new socializing spot on her route - the house of a woman named Glenda, who has a proliferous fig tree. Her harvest is now being magnanimously distributed amongst my family on a weekly basis. We suddenly have a fig hook-up, filling an autumnal gap we didn’t know existed.
And then just like that, figs are everywhere. Every food blog, food site, and instagram photo is paying homage to the fig. I went to my sister-in-law’s house the other night and left with a jar of homemade fig jam. I’ve never known her to make jam, much less fig. Perhaps I’m just late to the fig game, or perhaps it’s an effect of the rise of seasonal food, but figs are definitely having a moment.
Even if you don’t have the Glenda fig hookup, you can, and should jump on this bandwagon. Figs are sweet, luscious little bulbs that make for a nutrient-rich snack or dessert. Outside of being fibrous (hello, prunes), figs have been shown to help lower cholesterol and protect against macular degeneration and postmenopausal breast cancer. Not too shabby.
My favorite preparation of figs is also the simplest - cut in half or quarters and grilled for a few minutes on the stove top. This method brings out the sweetness in figs, and there’s just something so warm and comforting about them. Eat them as is or serve over ice cream and you’ve got a super simple, not too sweet dessert. Other ideas would of course be jam, or, if you’re in the mood to get fancy with tarts, try either of these recipes from Spoon Fork Bacon - Fresh Fig and Honey Yogurt Tart or Roasted Fig Tart.
However new it may be to you, Happy Fig Season!