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Bumper Crop

As we end our summer, and move into fall, the air gets cooler at night, the garden growth is starting to slow, and I have a bumper crop of figs. Check out this tree!

What to do with all of these figs? Well, I have given a lot away, but I still have so many I decided to look up some recipes to take advantage of them before they become overripe and spoil.

Today I made some fig scones. Super easy, using whole wheat flour and rolled oats, and best of all, no sugar. OK, a quarter cup of honey.

I plan on cooking some chicken thighs with figs in a balsamic glaze later today for dinner and am looking forward to the raves. Again, another super simple recipe.

And I always like to make chutney, so I will find one for figs. Fig bread, cake and preserves are all good choices too. Of course, adding some fresh figs to a salad adds another dimension to your greens, so give it a try.

Most people I know are not fig fans, but I am out to change that. It isn’t that people don’t like them, it is usually that they have never had them. Maybe Fig Newtons (one of my personal faves).

But most people I know have only seen the cookie, preserves or dried type of fig. Fresh figs don’t travel well, but when you have a large tree in your yard, you are going to enjoy some figs, let me tell you. Fresh figs are in season from late summer through early autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and can tolerate some frost.

Most figs are grown in the Mediterranean, particularly Turkey, and the North African countries of Egypt, Morocco and Algiers producing over 60% of commercially grown figs. Did you know that the fig is one of the first plants to be cultivated by humans, predating wheat, legumes and barley.

The Greeks and Romans both ate figs, and it is rumored that Rome’s first emperor, Augustus, was poisoned by his wife, Livia, with figs laced with a poison.

Figs were grown in far-reaching places all over the world, from Portugal to India and Cardinal Pole installed fig trees in London at Lambeth Palace. By the mid-eighteenth century, missionaries in California cultivated figs, and this is the Mission variety we see today.

And figs are good for you. Raw figs are made up of 79% water, 19% carbohydrate and are a moderate source of dietary fiber. When dehydrated to 30% water, the carbohydrate content jumps to 64%, and these dried figs become a rich source of dietary fiber, with more than 20% DV.

Here are some terrific recipes for you to try as you explore the benefits of fresh figs right now while they are in season:

Fresh Fig Salad

5 oz. baby greens

10 figs (quartered)

3 oz. prosciutto

1/3 cup roasted salted pistachios

4 oz. grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp. honey

Salt & Pepper to taste

Combine the greens, fig quarters, prosciutto and pistachios together in a bowl.

Make a salad dressing with the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard and honey, whisked together. Or put the ingredients in a jar, and shake vigorously.

Toss the salad and top with Parmesan.

Fresh figs and Chicken Thighs in a Balsamic Glaze

8 skinless, boneless chicken


salt and ground black pepper to


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive


10 fresh figs, stemmed and


1½ cups chicken broth

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

1 large shallot, sliced lengthwise

1 tablespoon minced fresh


fresh rosemary, for garnish


Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until

shimmering. Add chicken thighs and cook, 3 to 4 minutes on each


Add figs, chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, and shallot. Bring

contents to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and let simmer until chicken

thighs are no longer pink in the centers and an instant-read

thermometer inserted into the centers reads at least 165 degrees F

(74 degrees C), about 8 minutes.

Transfer thighs to a serving plate and keep warm.

Remove figs from the skillet using a slotted spoon and place them

around the chicken on the plate.

Add minced rosemary to the skillet contents, increase heat to

medium-high, and allow contents to come to a full boil to create a

the reduction. Continue to boil, stirring often, until liquid reduces to

approximately 1 cup, 8 to 10 minutes.

Drizzle balsamic reduction over chicken and figs and garnish with rosemary sprigs. Serve warm.

Let me know what you think! Thumbs up or down for figs?


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