July/August/September 2010 Fig Focus

figs on leaves

Mediterranean Fig Kabobs

Great Grilling for Summer

Summer is here and it’s grilling season. Kabobs make a quick meal that’s attractive, fun to eat, and great for family entertaining. You can prepare the kabobs ahead of time and easily create vegetarian and meat versions, so there’s something for everyone’s eating pleasure.

Cut the foods for the kabobs in similar sizes for even grilling. You can mix meats, fruits and vegetables on each skewer or keep them separate. There are a variety of skewers available, but two popular types are flat stainless steel and round wooden. If you grill often and enjoy making kabobs, the stainless steel ones are good to have. The wooden ones are inexpensive and very handy, just be sure to soak them in water for about 15 to 30 minutes to keep them from catching on fire or splintering. Remember to lightly spray or brush your grill with a little oil to keep the kabobs from sticking.

Mediterranean Fig Kabobs on Mixed Greens features sweet, plump dried California figs, eggplant, onions and red peppers in a tasty sherry marinade. The kabobs are served over mixed greens drizzled with a delightful citrus dressing and finished off with feta cheese for a real Mediterranean flair–the next best thing to being in the Mediterranean. While this dish offers a delicious combination of fruit and vegetables, you can easily make a separate batch of sherry marinade and use for firm fish, chicken or turkey. Discard the marinade, do not use it for the dressing as you would with the vegetarian version.

Celebrating a Valley Treasure

Savor gourmet food samples from the Central San Joaquin Valley’s culinary leaders. Enjoy fresh and dried California Figs, delicious recipes and more at the 7th Annual Fig Fest. Fun fig activities include Petanque Demonstration, Face Paining and Live Entertainment. Visit the California Fig Advisory Board web site, www.californiafigs.com, to download last year’s Fig Fest Recipe booklet.

Fresno State — Ag East Lawn
Between the Ag Science Building and Satellite Student Union

9 AM-1:00 PM

$6.00 advance:
Go to California Fig Advisory Board web site,
www.californiafigs.com, to purchase and print a ticket.
$8.00 at the gate

Restaurants include:
the girl & the fig
Cracked Pepper Bistro
Elbow Room Bar & Grill
The Vintage PRess
Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Max’s Bistro
…and Many More.

Fig and Walnut Hummus

We received so many outstanding recipes for our Fabulous at Fifty recipe contest. Here is another one of our winners. Close your eyes and picture yourself in Greece.

From our winner: “This is a spread I get requests to bring to family get togethers and potlucks. This is very similar to a fig Hummus we had at a Bistro while vacationing in Greece years ago that has become an heirloom recipe for gatherings with family and friends. It is also a great spread for a sandwich! This Mediterranean style Hummus can be made 1 to 48 hours ahead of time.”

  • 1 cup chopped Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Figs
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice

Light dusting of Paprika for garnish

Pita bread cut into triangles

In a food processor, chop figs and walnuts together. Scrap into a bowl and set aside. Combine remaining ingredients together (except for pita bread) until blended smooth. Fold in figs and walnuts. Place in a serving bowl, dust with Paprika, cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before serving. Serve with warm or cold pita bread triangles or pita chips. Serves 6-8 people

On the Nutrition Front

By Cherryl Bell, RD, MS

ew U.S. Dietary Guidelines Proposed

The US Dietary Guidelines for Americans are updated every five years to reflect the latest research and emerging science. Recently released and ready for public comments, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines are different from previous years’ reports. This report addresses an American public, the majority of whom are overweight or obese and yet are under-nourished in several key nutrients.

Some of the key recommendations: 

  • Reduce the incidence and prevalence of overweight and obesity of the US population by reducing overall calorie intake and increasing physical activity.
  • Shift food intake patterns to a more plant-based diet that emphasizes vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
  • Significantly reduce intake of foods containing added sugars and solid fats because these dietary components contribute excess calories and few, if any, nutrients. 

Americans are encouraged to lower overall energy intakes to match their energy needs. Energy-dense forms of foods, especially foods high in added sugars and solid fats, should be replaced with nutrient-dense forms of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fluid milk and milk products to increase intakes of shortfall nutrients and nutrients of concern–vitamin D, calcium, potassium, and dietary fiber.

How do California Dried Figs fit into this picture? Figs are a naturally sweet, nutrient rich whole fruit that conveniently gives you:

  • 5g of dietary fiber in a quarter cup —more than 2 slices whole wheat bread or an ounce of almonds or a half-cup broccoli.
  • Ounce-for-ounce as much calcium as milk and more potassium than bananas.
  • A variety of essential vitamins and minerals including iron, magnesium, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, zinc, and copper.
  • No added sugar, and a naturally fat, cholesterol and sodium-free fruit.

Figs and Satiety

Scientists at the Agricultural University of Athens, Greece explored whether eating a snack of prunes before a meal would make you feel fuller than eating an equivalent snack of bread. The study looked at 45 healthy normal weight subjects. They found that when people at the prune snack before a meal, they ate less dessert and fewer total calories. The subjects also reported feeling less hungry between the snack and mealtime. A proposed explanation is that the fruit’s fiber content created a feeling of fullness. Thus adding a high fiber fruit to a snack seems to promote satiety or a feeling of fullness which could influence weight management.

A Back to School Snack Idea from Valley Fig Growers’ Store

Buy a box of 1.5 oz. snack bags and add to lunch for a naturally sweet, healthy treat or send along for sports workouts and after school events.

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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