By Selma Williams
Gila Community College Wellness Center Coordinator
Figs are older than man. I am fascinated to find out they are related to the ficus and mulberry. The fig has made its rounds. They say figs started in Southern Arabia making their way around the world and getting here in the 1700’s with missionaries in what we now know as California. The Fig Newton came out in the 1800’s – yum!
Something as old as the fig has a lot of lore. The fig it seems has always held a place of honor in most cultures. As a token of honor, figs were used as a training food by the early Olympic athletes.
Figs were also presented as laurels to the winners as the first Olympic medals. Figs were regarded with such esteem that laws were created forbidding the export of the best quality figs. Sycophant derives from the Greek word meaning one who informs against another for exporting figs or for stealing the fruit of the sacred fig trees. Hence, the word came to mean a person who tries to win favor with flattery.
Figs were respected in ancient Rome and considered sacred while according to myth the twin founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, rested under a fig tree. It is said that the prophet Mohammed once exclaimed: “If I should wish a fruit brought to Paradise it would certainly be the fig.”
One of the things I thought was cool about the fig is although considered a fruit; the fig is actually a flower that is inverted into itself. Eight ounces of figs have 526mg of potassium and almost 7.5 mg of fiber.
I looked for a “healthy” recipe but I found this one called Fresh Fig Ice Cream from David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”:
• 2 lbs fresh figs (about 20)
• 1/2 cup of water
• 1 lemon, preferably unsprayed
• 3/4 cup of sugar
• 1 cup of heavy cream
• 1/2 teaspoon of freshly squeezed, lemon juice, or more to taste
Remove the hard stem ends from the figs, then cut each fig into 8 pieces. Put the figs in a medium, nonreactive saucepan with the water, and zest the lemon directly into the saucepan. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 8-10 minutes until the figs are tender.
Remove the lid, add the sugar and continue to cook until it reaches a jam-like consistency. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Blend together with cream and lemon juice, chill in the fridge and then put in your ice cream maker per the manufacturer’s instructions.
That sounds good enough for me to go buy an ice cream maker. YUM! When you make it, let me know what you think.
Until next time, Woo Hoo!