August 2016 Fig Focus

A Refreshing Taste for Summer

Recently we’ve seen one of summer’s favorite fruits, watermelon, featured in savory-sweet preparations with a Mediterranean spin. Juicy, sweet watermelon is as refreshing as fruit gets and pungent feta cheese and slightly bitter arugula balance its juicy sweetness.

We’ve dialed up the flavor experience with a dressing of balsamic-steeped California Figs and red onion, echoing the Mediterranean roots of this recipe. The dressing can be made a day ahead and chilled; bring to room temperature before serving. Serve this salad with grilled steak, chicken or burgers at your next August barbecue.

Summer California Fig, Feta and Watermelon Salad

Remove stems and slice California Figs lengthwise.

Reduce vinegar. Stir in Figs, onions, salt, pepper

Spoon Fig-balsamic mixture around watermelon.

Summer California Fig, Feta and Watermelon Salad 
Serves 6 

1 cup Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs

1 cup white balsamic vinegar*

1 cup thinly sliced red onion

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil

6 cups (about 9 ounces) baby arugula or other greens

4 cups cubed (1/2-inch) watermelon

3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (regular, reduced-fat or fat-free)

1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh mint

Remove stems from Figs and discard. Cut each Fig lengthwise into slices. Pour vinegar into a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in Figs, onion, salt and several grinds of black pepper. Cool to room temperature, stirring often. Stir in 1/3 cup olive oil. Taste and add more olive oil, salt and pepper, if needed to taste. To serve, spread arugula leaves on a platter. Spoon melon cubes in center, on arugula. Spoon Fig-balsamic mixture around melon. Sprinkle cheese and mint over salad. Toss gently to serve.

*To use regular (dark) balsamic vinegar, in step 2, simmer until reduced to ½ cup. Stir in 1/2 cup olive oil.

Lorelle Del Matto, MS, RDN, is a nutrition and culinary professional who combines a passion for food (and California Figs) with a quest for nutrition knowledge. She believes well designed and tested recipes can be great communication tools. Lorelle has a Master’s of Science in nutrition biology and is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Lorelle developed her culinary skills in France at La Varenne, Ecole de Cuisine. You can find more recipes and healthy lifestyle tips to inspire you to “savor the art of healthy eating” on her website lorelledelmatto.com and on Twitter and Facebook.

Attend an Episode of Cook’s Country in New England This Fall

There’s still time to enter our California Figs Fun in the Sun Ice Cream Sweepstakes with America’s Test Kitchen. Entering is easy and the prize is pretty sweet: a trip for you and a guest to attend the filming of an episode of Cook’s Country by America’s Test Kitchen! The giveaway ends August 11. What are you waiting for? Enter today!

Back to Basics: Breakfast of Champions

As kids start going back to school, it’s a good time to make a habit of healthy eating—for the whole family. The first meal of the day, breakfast, is a great place to start. Short on time? Not sure what to make? In a rut and eating the same thing every day? Not to worry, we’ve got breakfast ideas to inspire the most important meal of the day. Our favorite way to add calcium and fiber and yummy whole fruit goodness is with California Figs! Whether you start the day with yogurt or open up the day with oatmeal, or pull a muffin out of the freezer, we’ve got you covered. Stay tuned to Facebook later this month–we’re cooking up something fun on Facebook with Joanne Weir!

Count on California Figs—Nutrition Tips and Tidbits

  • Our featured recipe, Sumer Fig, Feta and Watermelon Salad, not only delivers on taste, but nutrition as well. One serving provides 20% of the Daily Value (DV) for dietary fiber, 25% of the DV for calcium and vitamin C, and 35% of the DV for vitamin A.
  • New research from the University of Warwick indicates that eating more fruits and vegetables can substantially increase people’s happiness levels. The study is one of the first to explore psychological wellbeing beyond the traditional finding that fruits and vegetables can reduce risk of cancer and heart attacks. Time to grab some California Figs to put a smile on your face! http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/news/fruit_and_veg/.

Fruits & Veggies—More Matters® is a health initiative focused on helping Americans increase fruit and vegetable consumption for better health. Eating a diet rich in a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables is easy with help from the folks at Produce for Better Health Foundation (spearheading the initiative). Check out the Fruits & Veggies—More Matters® website, it’s chock full of recipes, food, cooking and nutrition tips, meal planning ideas, storage tips and so much more. Looking for some back to school lunch ideas? This is the place to go. Enjoy a taste of good health with California Figs!

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and tag us @valleyfig —we’d love to see what you’re cooking on Instagram and Facebook!

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