November 2014 Fig Focus

Valley Fig Growers

Welcome National Fig Week – November 1-7!

November finds California’s fresh fig season winding down and dried fig season on the upswing. Throughout fall and winter, sweet, chewy California Dried Figs are your go to figs—versatile and always available. Dark purple Missions and amber-colored Goldens love to star in holiday recipes and celebrations. Grab a few jars of our new gourmet Orchard Choice California Fig Spreads—Organic Mission, California Orange, Balsamic Pepper, and Port Wine—to pair with cheeses and artisan crackers for a simple yet elegant appetizer with culinary flair.

Figs offer nutrition superiority and an array of creative, culinary opportunities. Not just another pretty fruit, California Figs deliver a wealth of essential nutrients and fiber, including calcium, iron, potassium and antioxidants. Their unique texture and natural sweetness make them welcome additions to cheese trays, salads, entrees, side dishes and desserts.

For tips, recipes and fascinating fig facts, visit www.valleyfig.com.

Chocolate-Fig Banana Bread

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt      
  • 1 ½ cups mashed, very ripe bananas (about 4)
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup stemmed, chopped Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun Maid Figs
  • ½ cup miniature chocolate morsels

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350˚.  Oil 9-x-5-inch loaf pan.  In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt. In separate bowl, whisk together bananas, eggs, oil and vanilla.  Whisk liquids into dry ingredients, mixing just until blended. Stir in figs and chocolate. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake 60 to 70 minutes (cover edges with foil after about 30 minutes to prevent overbrowning) or until pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes in pan. Run sharp knife around edge of pan and remove bread from pan to wire rack to cool. Wrap airtight and store at room temperature or freeze.  Makes 1 loaf.

Our Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

Mesclun Salad with Blue Cheese, Figs, and Prosciutto

For the best results, buy a hunk of blue cheese and crumble it yourself. Microwaving the figs and port together plumps the figs and also infuses them with flavor.

  • 1/3 cup ruby port
  • 8 Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Figs, stemmed and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 7 ounces (7 cups) mesclun
  • 8 (1/8-inch-thick) slices prosciutto
  • 6 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (1 1/2 cups)
  • Salt and pepper

Combine port and figs in bowl and microwave, covered, until port is bubbling, about 1 minute. Let sit until figs have softened, about 5 minutes. Strain figs, reserving port. Combine vinegar, shallots, and reserved port in large bowl. Slowly whisk in oil until combined. Add mesclun, prosciutto, blue cheese, and figs to bowl with dressing and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4.

Ginger-Glazed Figs & Yams

  • 1 1/2 pounds yams (about 3 medium)
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) thinly sliced, stemmed Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Figs
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh gingerroot or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Heat oven to 375°F. Peel yams and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices. In large saucepan fitted with a steamer basket, bring 2 inches of water to a boil. Add yams and cover. Cook until just tender when pierced with a knife, about 8 minutes. In shallow, greased 1 or 1 1/2-quart baking dish, arrange yams, slightly overlapping, and top with figs. (Recipe can be made one day in advance up to this point.) Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat. Stir in ginger and heat about 1 minute. Add brown sugar and stir until dissolved; add lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pour mixture evenly over yams and figs and bake until the yams are lightly glazed on top, about 15 minutes. Makes 6 Servings

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

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, and discovered ways to enjoy healthy digestion. November seems a good time to hold the line.

During the holidays, take the approach you’re going to hold your weight where it is—don’t gain, don’t lose, just maintain.  

As the holiday season approaches:

  • Be picky. Survey the buffet table, decide what you absolutely have to have and eat that—just eat a small amount.
  • Eat healthy before you go out. Don’t go to a party hungry, you’ll eat way too much.
  • Make some cute take home boxes and send all your dinner party leftovers home with guests.
  • Eat some foods with potassium, like figs. Potassium counterbalances sodium and could reduce the water you retain.
  • Talk to as many people as possible at the party. It’s hard to eat and talk at the same time.
  • Practice saying “no thank you”.

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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