October/November/December 2010 Fig Focus

figs on leaves

Festive Fig Lollipops

These fig treats are so easy to make for all your holiday parties. Decorate with orange and black sprinkles for Halloween, red and green sprinkles for Christmas, and blue sprinkles for Hanukkah. Oh, yes–they’re healthy, too!

  • 12 large Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Mission or Calimyrna Figs
  • 3/4 cup (about 4 ounces) semisweet chocolate, milk chocolate or white morsels
  • 12 (4-inch) bamboo skewers
  • 2 oranges or grapefruits

Decoration: Sea salt, kosher salt, finely chopped, toasted nuts and/or colored sugar sprinkles

With scissors or sharp knife, cut off fig stems and discard. Flatten each fig with palm of hand. Place one fig on each skewer to look like a lollipop. Place oranges in small bowls to hold lollipops while chocolate cools. Microwave morsels in microwave-safe bowl on MEDIUM (50%) power for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth. Dip skewered figs partially into melted chocolate. Sprinkle each with a pinch of salt, finely chopped nuts or sugar sprinkles, as desired. Poke skewers in oranges. Chill until set. Makes 12 fig lollipops.

Holiday Sides and Sauces

Holiday Stuffing Balls is one of our favorite recipes that gives tradition a new look.

Ginger-Glazed Figs & Yams can be made a day ahead and offers a delicious, healthy alternative to traditional candied yams. The presentation is lovely.

Fig, Cranberry and Port Wine Sauce provides a delicious way to showcase turkey and prime rib or any other meats you might be serving this holiday season. The recipe comes courtesy of Chef Kirt Martin, Snake River Grill, Hagerman, Idaho.

Fig, Cranberry and Port Wine Sauce provides a delicious way to showcase turkey and prime rib or any other meats you might be serving this holiday season. The recipe comes courtesy of Chef Kirt Martin, Snake River Grill, Hagerman, Idaho.

Fig, Cranberry and Port Wine Sauce

  • 1 3/4 cups port wine
  • 1/2  cup balsamic wine vinegar
  • 2 cups Mission figs, diced
  • 1  each rosemary sprig, whole
  • 1/4  cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2  cup sugar
  • 1/8  teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 12 ounces cranberries, washed, drained

Kosher salt, to taste

Simmer all of the ingredients except the cranberries for ten minutes. Remove the rosemary sprig. Add the cranberries and simmer until half of them have popped their skins. Adjust the taste with salt if needed. Remove the sauce from the heat. This sauce can be served hot or cold. 

On the Nutrition Front

By Cherryl Bell, RD, MS

– At this summer’s 2010 New York Fancy Food Show, figs and fig products were identified by food experts as one of the emerging trends to watch for 2011. Fall favorites, squash, pumpkin and sweet potatoes, also were identified as one of the top five food trends. Valley Fig Growers knew figs, squash and sweet potatoes were destined to be best buddies. Be a trend setter with these recipes featured in our recipe section, Sherry Braised Squash with Figs and Rosemary; and, Sweet Potato Pie with Fig and Pecan Topping (a little slice will go a long way).

– In a recent article, Cooking tips to help you lose the fat, not the flavor, Consumer Reports wrote “it’s easier to eat healthfully if you keep your kitchen stocked with foods that are packed with nutrients but low in calories and saturated fat.” One of their suggestions was: “Instead of canola or olive oil, try balsamic vinegar. Balsamic vinegar’s sweet, fruity flavor is smooth, so you can use it to replace some of the oil in many salad dressings, sauces, marinades and other recipes.” They included this cooking tip: “Drizzle vinegar over cooked meat, or add to steamed grains combined with dried fruit.” Source: ©Consumers Union of United States Inc.; Washington Post 9/21/2010.

– To help you eat healthfully during the holidays, keep Mission and Calimyrna figs, along with Orchard Choice Fig Balsamic Vinegar, on your shelf.

– Consumer Reports also mentioned whole grains as a good substitute for white rice and pasta. They noted that whole grains take longer to chew and digest, and may help you eat less and feel full longer. I’m thinking the same would hold true for fiber-rich figs. Try making our recipe for Barley & Bow-Tie Pilaf with Figs, Lemon and Thyme using whole grain bow tie pasta. The flavor and nutrition is stellar and it’s one of my favorite recipes. This versatile dish can be eaten as a main dish or side dish and makes great leftovers. 

Harvest Time in the Valley Fig Growers’ Orchards

Fall is here and the crop is looking good. A majority of the crop has been harvested and deliveries are in full swing.

Holidays at the Growers Store

Here are some ideas for your holiday food gifts using our delicious dark purple Mission and golden Calimyrna figs.

  • Make Chef Kirt Martin’s Fig, Cranberry and Port Wine Sauce with our Mission Figs and put in decorative jars to give as gifts this holiday season. Order 5 lb. boxes of Mission Figs for this one.
  • Start early and make Fig Brandy. Here is a recipe. You’ll need 1 1/2 cups good quality brandy, 2 oz. Grand Marnier or Cointreau, 1 cup stemmed and quartered Mission Figs, and 1 tablespoon lime zest. Fill mason jar with figs. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over figs. Close jars tighly with lid. Store in cool, dark place for about 2 weeks. Enjoy chilled or at room temperature as a cocktail or spooned over ice cream. Recipe courtesy of Kelly Burgoyne, www.kellyburgoyne.com. There are lots of additional recipes on the internet.
  • Shop the thrift stores or yard sales for one-of-a-kind decorative containers, jars and small bowls. Make up our newest snack recipe, Chili-Spiced Cereal & Fig Snack Mix, and fill the container. Wrap in cellophane and add a bow for a unique holiday gift. You can order our 5 pound boxes of Calimyrna or Mission Figs for this recipe.

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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