With its ancient history, medicinal qualities, and nutritional value, the simple, venerable fig deserves more recognition. There are hundreds of different varieties, all from the mulberry family, but the most commonly known include Black Mission, Brown Turkey, and Kadota figs. Fig bushes, some of which can live for more than a century, thrive in hot, dry climates and have two seasons. Depending on the part of the world, the first harvest typically happens in early summer and the second, late August through the end of autumn.

For such small fruits, figs are an incredible source of fiber and natural sugars. The entire fruit is edible, packed with immune-boosting Vitamins A and C, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. They’re also an excellent anti-inflammatory food that aids in digestion, promotes healthy skin, and balances glucose levels. The leaves, which are also edible, can be dried for use in herbal teas.

So, next time you pluck them from your garden or buy them at the local farmers’ market, don’t overlook the variety and versatility this unassuming fruit has to offer. Consider the following recipes as a way to get more creative in the kitchen and take your fig know-how up a notch. Fresh, dried, roasted, grilled, or preserved - any way you prepare them your next summer picnic guests will thank you.

@shelovesbiscotti

Apple Fig Tea

Why We Love It: Summertime is the season for cold, refreshing beverages and this fruity tea is a great alternative to sugary sodas and lemonades. Throw in a few healthy garnishes and it can be customized to suit every taste.

Makes 6 Servings
Recipe developer: Maria, @shelovesbiscotti

Ingredients

  • 8 cups water
  • 3-4 apples (washed and quartered)
  • 6-8 dried figs
  • Lemon wedge (optional)
  • Honey (optional)
  • Cinnamon stick (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place apples and figs in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for an hour or so. Strain.
  2. Serve hot or as an iced beverage. For something different, boost the flavor with a lemon wedge, dash of honey, or cinnamon stick.
Dinner at the Zoo

Roasted Figs with Ice Cream

Why We Love It: Eating clean doesn’t mean you can’t still indulge in delicious desserts. With naturally sweet figs as the topping that next bowl of ice cream won’t be boring.
Makes 4 Servings
Recipe maker: Sara, Dinner at the Zoo

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 8 ripe figs (halved lengthwise)
  • 1 ⅓ cups vanilla ice cream
  • ¼ cup blanched hazelnuts (toasted, coarsely chopped)

Instructions

  1. Preheat broiler. Line a large baking sheet with foil. In a bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients.
  2. Dip figs, cut side down, in sugar mixture and coat generously. Place on baking pan, cut side up, and broil for about 4 minutes, until sugar caramelized.
  3. Add to dairy-free vanilla ice cream and sprinkle with hazelnuts.
@SnixyKitchen

Five-Minute Fig Salad

Why We Love It: Light fare like salads are a perfect meal option when the weather is warm. This recipe is simple and easy and only takes a few minutes to create.
Makes 4 Servings
Recipe maker: Sarah, @SnixyKitchen

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces arugula
  • ½ cup dried figs
  • ⅓ cup slivered almonds (toasted)
  • ¼ cup fresh parmesan (grated)
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. Toss the arugula in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, and salt, as desired.
  2. Add figs, parmesan, and almonds. Coat evenly once more. Serve.