March 2017 Fig Focus

California Fig and Oat Soda Bread

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with an Irish soda bread made with rolled oats – a very Irish ingredient – and California Figs. Our bread is a cross between the classic Irish brown soda bread and the richer, American version.  

The name soda bread comes from the rising action of baking soda mixed with buttermilk and cream of tartar; the combination produces carbon dioxide bubbles that leaven the bread.  

White whole wheat and whole wheat pastry flours add whole grain goodness. Soaking the California Figs and oats in buttermilk helps guarantee moistness.

Serve this loaf any time of day – toasted for breakfast, with a sliver of Irish cheddar for lunch, or as an accompaniment to your favorite soup or stew with your evening meal.     Tips:

  • To measure flour, gently stir it, spoon it into a measuring cup and level with a straight edge.  
  • For a tender loaf, avoid over-handling the dough or adding extra flour.  
  • For a more American version of soda bread, increase the sugar to 4 tablespoons and add a tablespoon of caraway seed.  

California Fig and Oat Soda Bread

Combine California Figs, oats and buttermilk.

Mix butter into dry ingredients until the size of small peas.

Pat into a circle and cut a cross in the top.

Bake until golden brown; cool thoroughly before slicing.

California Fig and Oat Soda Bread

Makes 1 loaf (12 to 16 slices.) 

  • 2 cups buttermilk (reduced-fat or regular)
  • 1 cup Blue Ribbon® Orchard Choice® or Sun-Maid® California Figs, stemmed and chopped
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour or cake flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  1. In a medium bowl, combine buttermilk, chopped figs and oats. Set aside to soften for 1 hour.
  2. Adjust rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 400°. 
  3. In a separate large bowl, combine all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour, sugar, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. With pastry blender or clean fingers, mix in butter till butter is the size of small peas. Add fig-buttermilk mixture, stirring to form a soft dough.
  4. With lightly floured or oiled hands, knead the dough (it will be sticky) in the bowl, about 10 turns, and form it into a ball. (Or, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface to knead). 
  5. Place ball of dough on a parchment-lined or oiled, foil-lined baking sheet. Pat to a 7-inch diameter circle. With a knife, cut a cross in the top of the bread.
  6. Bake for 23 to 28 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through, covering with foil after 15 to 20 minutes to prevent over-browning. Bread is done with internal temperature reaches 190° measured with an instant-read thermometer.  Cool thoroughly on wire rack before slicing. 

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.

Eat Your Greens with California Figs

As March embarks, we’re seeing green. Bright shoots of grass remind us that winter will end and spring is on the way. While some celebrate St. Paddy’s Day with green beer, we take a different approach — eating greens with California Figs!

Getting in your greens can be supper-sized salads or delicious side dishes and w are offering inspiration to keep your month filled with figs and green goodness. If yo’re like us and pin recipes for future dinner ideas like this California Fig Basil Tuna Salad from Cook’s Country, head to Pinterest to find your next favorite way to eat figs. 

Count on California Figs—Nutrition Tips and Tidbits

March is National Nutrition Month®.  This year Put Your Best Fork Forward says the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics–the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. Making small shifts in your food choices can add up over time. So whether you’re planning meals to prepare at home or making selections when eating out, Put Your Best Fork Forward to help find your healthy eating style. 

Key Messages:

  • Create an eating style that includes a variety of your favorite, healthful foods.
  • Practice cooking more at home and experiment with healthier ingredients.
  • How much you eat is as important as what you eat. Eat and drink the right amount for you, as MyPlate encourages.
  • Find activities that you enjoy and be physically active most days of the week.
  • Manage your weight or lower your health risks by consulting a registered dietitian nutritionist. RDNs can provide sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice to meet your lifestyle, preferences and health-related needs.

California Figs are naturally sweet, rich sources of dietary fiber packed with essential vitamins, minerals and health-promoting antioxidants. Make some small shifts throughout your day to include California Figs. Grab a bag of figs on your way out the door in the morning. Go for a walk with coworkers and share some figs. Keep figs handy to add to your salads at lunch and dinner. 

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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