January 2015 Fig Focus

Homemade Fig Energy Bars

Looking Forward to 2015!

January has arrived and so have all the food trend predictions. Two predictions sound fitting for figs. The first is texture: “rich, chewy and crunchy”.  It’s the perfect description of figs! California Dried Figs are rich in earthy, sweet fig flavor, have a chewy texture and are filled with tiny, edible, delightfully crunchy seeds.

The second trend prediction is for bolder flavors and ingredients in snack bars. California Figs can easily give snack bars a bold flavor and a powerful nutrition punch. We’re including a couple or our boldly flavored snack bar recipes.

Snack Bars with a Powerful Nutrition Punch

Homemade Fig Energy Bars
Bars can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen up to 1 month.

1 cup Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs, stemmed and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

3/4 cup whole raw almonds

2 tablespoons chia seeds

3/4 cup dried cranberries

2 tablespoons coconut oil

Line 9-inch square baking dish with parchment paper, leaving excess hanging over the sides to make a sling.

Homemade Fig Energy Bars

Process all ingredients in food processor until finely ground, about 2 minutes. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish spread into even layer, pressing down using offset spatula or hand to firmly compress. Transfer to refrigerator and chill until mixture is firm, about 20 minutes

Lift parchment sling out of baking dish and place on cutting board. Using sharp knife, cut into 9 bars.

Recipe provided by Cook’s Country TV. Valley Fig Growers is a proud sponsor of Cook’s Country TV.

Granola Bars with Dried Figs and Ginger

7 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon table salt

3/4 cup honey

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (optional)

1 1/2 cups whole almonds, pecans, peanuts, or walnuts, chopped coarse

1 cup diced Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs (about 6 ounces), stems removed

1/4 cup chopped crystalized ginger

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Toss oats, oil, and salt together in large bowl; spread out over 12 by 18-inch baking sheet and bake, stirring often, until pale gold, 20 to 25 minutes.

While oats are toasting, heat honey and brown sugar in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar is fully dissolved, about 5 minutes. Stir in vanilla and cinnamon (if using) and set aside.

Remove oats from oven and lower oven temperature to 300 degrees. Transfer toasted oats to large bowl and toss with honey mixture until evenly coated. Stir in nuts, dried figs, and crystallized ginger.

Line 12 by 18-inch baking sheet with aluminum foil, then coat lightly with vegetable oil spray. Spread oat mixture out on prepared pan, then pack tightly into even layer using wet metal spatula. Bake until golden, 35 to 40 minutes.

Let cool on wire rack for 15 minutes, then cut into 2 by 3-inch bars in pan. Let cool completely before removing from pan. Makes about 36 bars.

NOTE: Quick-cooking oats cannot be substituted for the old-fashioned oats here because their texture becomes too sandy when toasted. The bars can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Orchard Choice California Orange Fig Spread

orange jam jar

Each month we’re featuring one of our new fig spreads.

This month it’s California Orange.

Summer’s best California figs are laced with a tangy twist of orange to create a fruit spread ripe for pairing with cheeses, topping toasts, and brightening desserts.

Tasty Tips for California Orange Fig Spread:

  • Swirl California Orange Fig Spread into cheesecake batter or spoon on top after baked
  • Use California Orange Fig Spread as a glaze for grilled fish and chicken
  • Fill crepes with ricotta cheese, toasted slivered almonds and California Orange Fig Spread
  • Stir California Orange Fig Spread into tapioca and rice puddings and top with crushed ginger snaps
  • Stir California Orange Fig Spread into plain yogurt
  • Look for recipes that call for fruit spreads and try substituting California Orange Fig Spread
  • Spread toasted baguette slices with Gorgonzola, top with California Orange Fig Spread and a sprig of rosemary.

“Try ‘Em, You’ll Like ‘Em” Healthy Lifestyle Tips

figs on leaf

Take steps every day to live a safe and healthy life.

This year you’ve taken to heart the Super Three, Gone Fishing, picked up some tips on drinking more water, learned to listen, washed up, improved your balance, enjoyed healthy digestion and discovered ways to hold the line during the holidays. December brought a close to 2014 and a tip to get enough sleep. January 2015 is here and it’s time to be a healthy role model—for your children, your friends and yourself.

Here are some ideas:

  • Show by example: eat fruits (we like to recommend California Dried Figs), veggies and whole grains with meals and as snacks
  • Go food shopping with the kids. Talk about where foods come from. For example, figs grow on trees in the central valley of California and there are two main varieties—Golden and Mission. Read more interesting fig facts.
  • Get creative in the kitchen. Name a food your child helps make. Serve Bennett’s Honey Fig Granola for breakfast.
  • Try new foods. Describe its taste, texture and smell. Golden figs have a sweet, slightly nutty flavor, chewy texture and crunchy, edible, tiny seeds.
  • Encourage physical activity. Walk with friends. Play tag or jump rope with the kids. Go bike riding (wear your helmet).

Find all 10 tips at ChooseMyPlate.gov

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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