January 2014 Fig Focus

Figs Take Foods From Good to Great in 2014

It’s always fun to see what trends are predicted for the coming year, and how they embrace figs. This year we spotted several. One healthy trend predicts that “bars” will be popular. Not your common cookie bars, these bars include breakfast bars, energy bars, whole grain snack bars, super food bars and dessert bars.  (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dawn-jackson-blatner-rd-cssd-ldn/top-food-trends_b_4159067.html). Figs star nicely in all kinds of bars, adding taste and nutrition.

Phil Lempert, the guru of predictions, has a couple trends that we can relate to:

Better for You Snacking – He says the push for five to six smaller meals throughout a day is driving this trend. We think figs are a definite yes in this trend.

Rise and Shine – The New Way to Start Your Day – People, especially men, don’t want to compromise on the blend of indulgence and taste at breakfast, Lempert says, “What do we do here to make breakfast exciting?” (http://www.foodbev.com/news/food-trends-for-2014-by-supermarket-guru#.Uqnwco3JCAK). We say, “ADD FIGS!”

In 2013 figs and fig jam were highlighted on the “Hot Foods List” of the December issue of Food Arts. Obviously, they are in the know. We predict this trend continues in 2014 and beyond.

USA Weekend wrote about “A Juicy New Development”. Fruit is now the second (after sandwiches) most popular food consumed in the USA. We are very excited to hear this news. Figs are easy to eat, portable, nutritious, and so delicious. Enjoy more figs.

Valley Fig Growers and Cook’s Country From America’s Test Kitchen Together Again

Our partnership with Cook’s Country TV from America’s Test Kitchen moves into its sixth year in 2014. Always fresh and exciting, we’ll have lots of new recipes, Twitter parties and exciting contests. Watch our Facebook page for announcements throughout the year. Here’s a healthy way to start the year off right.

Wheat Berry and Fig Salad
Serves 4
If the water level gets low as the wheat berries simmer in step 1, add more boiling water to prevent the pan from drying out.

Ingredients

  • 1
 cup wheat berries
  • 
Salt and pepper
  • 1
 carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 1½ cups Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Dried Figs, stemmed and chopped into ¼-inch pieces
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1
 small shallot, minced
  • 1
 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Directions

Toast the wheat berries in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until the wheat berries are fragrant and beginning to darken, about 5 minutes. Stir in 4 quarts water and 1/4 teaspoon salt and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover, and continue to simmer, stirring often, until tender (the wheat berries should remain a little chewy), about 1 hour.

Drain the wheat berries, spread them out over a rimmed baking sheet, and let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Transfer the cooled wheat berries to a large bowl and stir in the carrot, figs, scallions, and basil. In a separate bowl, whisk the vinegar, orange juice, oil, mustard, shallot, garlic, and honey together, then pour over the wheat berry mixture and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

TO MAKE AHEAD: The wheat berry salad can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days; season with additional salt, pepper, orange juice, and vinegar to taste before serving.

Mark Your Calendar for February 12–“It’s Love at First Bite”

Join Valley Fig Growers and America’s Test Kitchen for a Twitter party full of Valentine’s Day ideas, and answers to all your questions. Twitter Chat with America’s Test Kitchen at 1pm EST on February 12 using #ATKCHAT. Watch our Facebook page for more details.

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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