FigFest and Ten 5-Minute Fig Recipes (2024)

When is Fig Season?

To me, figs have always signaled the beginning of my favorite season: Fall. Growing up in the Midwest, it was as if Mother Nature rewarded our survival of the searing heat of August with her most sensuous fruit, the fig. But my fall=fig perception is a result of geographic undesirability. In reality, figs are in season during late summer and fresh figs didn’t reach markets in America’s heartland until September, if they arrived at all.

Actually, California’s Fresh Fig Season starts in mid-May and continues through mid-December. Most figs are grown in California’s where our Mediterranean climate and rich soil fostered fig production. Figs originated in Figs were first imported from the West Indies to Spanish missions in Mexico and subsequently spread to California with the Franciscan missionaries who planted them in the mission gardens at San Diego in 1769 and up the Pacific coast to Santa Clara by 1792, Ventura by 1793, and later on to Sonoma, giving the name Mission to those first dark purple California figs. Along with Mission figs, three other varieties are produced in California: Brown Turkey, Kadota, and Calimyra. {Source: California Fig Commission}

Figs Are Easy To Prepare

Not sure what to do with figs? One thing about figs that makes them so easy to work with is they don’t require pitting or peeling! Most fruit in our house doesn’t last long enough to bake with because our favorite way to enjoy each season’s bounty is out of hand: oranges and tangerines in the spring,peaches and grapes in the summer, followed by sensuous figs and crisp fall apples as we move into the cooler months.

10 Quick and Easy Recipes for Figs

Mildly sweet with a luscious mouthfeel, figs pair perfectly with savory herbs, meats, salty cheeses, and cured meats. For this weekend’s Fig Fest in San Diego, I thought it would be fun to come up with ways to savor figs that require only 5 minutes of your precious time. Creative inspiration hit me when it struck me that figs seemed to be underused in the beverage category. There is an abundance of ways to prepare figs as an appetizer, but what about a smoothie to start your day or a beer float for dessert or cooling refreshment? Well here you go! Hope you enjoy them as much as I did 🙂

1. Fig and Blueberry Antioxidant Smoothie:

An antioxidant powerhouse to start your day! Cleopatra’s cravings aside, what really matters is that figs have zero fat, no sodium and are cholesterol free. Figs are exceptionally high in dietary fiber, which provides a host of health benefits.Figs are higher in antioxidants than red wine or tea and well known for their polyphenolic benefits. Good as they are fresh, figs are even better nutritionally when dried. {Source:}Add blueberries to the mix and we’re talking major powerhouse. For one smoothie: Combine 4 figs, 1 cup blueberries, 6-ounce blueberry yogurt (I used Chobani), 1 cup almond milk and 3-4 ice cubes in a blender or Vitamix. Pulse until smooth.

2. Fig and Chocolate Beer Float:

A craft beer lovers take on the root beer float with an added layer of flavor and texture imparted by a figgy sauce. For two floats: Puree 6 figs using a blender, VitaMix or hand mixer until nearly smooth. Drizzle chocolate syrup along the side of each tall or sundae glass. Fill glasses half full with a dark beer of your choice – I’ve tried Hangar 24 chocolate porter, Stone smoked porter (shown) and Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale and achieved tasty results – let your tastebuds guide you. Add a 2 scoops vanilla ice cream, spoon pureed fig over the ice cream and top with more beer.

3. Figs and Balsamic with Feta:

A quick snack or elegant appetizer. In a small saucepan gently simmer 1 cup of balsamic until reduced to 1/3 cup yielding an intensely flavored balsamic reduction. Slice figs in half, drizzle with balsamic, top with crumbled feta. Place artfully on a plate an drizzle with a little more of the balsamic.

4. Bacon Wrapped Figs:

Figs and Prosciutto are a natural sweet/salty pairing, so it only makes sense that bacon would also be fabulous. After all, how many restaurants feature Bacon Wrapped Dates?! Try it with figs -you won’t regret it.

Cut pieces of bacon in half lengthwise – a tiny fig doesn’t need a whole piece of bacon! Wrap the bacon around the fig in a spiral. Place figs on a baking sheets and broil, turning as needed, until bacon is crisped and browned. Serve hot.

5. Blue Cheese Stuffed Figs:

Another popular fig pairing is blue cheese. Again, sweet and savory is the magic here. Simply make a slit in the side of each fig, being careful not to cut all the way through. Stuff with your favorite blue cheese or gorgonzola dolce. If you’re not a fan of the strong pungent flavor of blue cheeses, try goat cheese. Serve as is or brush figs with canola or vegetable oil and heat in a pan, on the grill, or under the broiler until the figs are warmed and the cheese is melted. About 5 minutes.

6. Fig and Pancetta Salad:

On a bed of spinach, arugula or mixed spring greens, add chopped figs and chopped, cooked pancetta or bacon. Drizzle with a good quality balsamic and olive oil dressing.

7. Fig Coulis:

A wonderful accompaniment to grilled or roasted lamb, pork, chicken, duck or turkey. In a blender or food processor, whirl 6 figs with a tablespoon of balsamic or sherry vinegar and about 1/2 cup of olive oil and puree until the consistency you desire – I like mine a little chunky. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Heat gently before serving. Fig coulis is great as a component on a cheese board or smeared on crostini and topped with crumbled feta or goat cheese.

8. Fig Crostini:

Finely chop figs and toss with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Let the figs sit while you cut baguette slices and toast them. Top the toasts with the fig mixture. You can spread a bit of fresh goat cheese on the toasts first, if you like, or crumble some blue cheese on top if that pleases your palate.

9. Broiled Figs:

Lay halved figs on a baking sheet. Lightly brush with melted butter or vegetable oil. Broil until the fig tops bubble and start to brown on the edges. Perfect with sweet or savory dishes, served with a cheese sampler, or for a quick dessert, drizzle the figs with honey before broiling and serve with marscapone, creme fraiche, or ice cream.

10. Breakfast Fig Parfait:

Layer chopped fresh figs or broiled figs with crunchy granola and yogurt drizzled with honey.

Figs Are Good For You

Fig lovers probably have this many and more delightful ways to bring the storied fig to your lips, but if you’re a newbie or have only savored figs when dining out, hopefully, these 10 amazingly easy fig recipes will take you to the next level and convert you to an all-out fig lover! What’s not to like?

  • California Figs are an excellent source of dietary fiber. Just 3 to 5 – dried or fresh – provide 5 grams of dietary fiber or 20% of the Daily Value.
    Just 3 to 5 dried (1/4 cup; 40 grams) or fresh (1/2 cup; 153 grams) California Figs count as one fruit serving.
    Figs and dried plums are rich in antioxidants among dried fruits and rank higher in antioxidants than red wine and tea, well known for their polyphenolics. (Source: California Fig Commission,Vinson, 1999, 2001)

Enjoy fresh and dried California Figs, delicious recipes, entertainment and more at the first San Diego Fig Fest! Savor gourmet food samples, extraordinary wines and craft brew from California’s best chefs, food purveyors, wine makers and breweries.

The festival will take place at the new San Diego Public Market, an exciting urban venue just minutes from the city’s vibrant downtown. Attendees will experience a unique community treasure in the making.

Benefits: Olivewood Gardens & Learning Center, St. Vincent de Paul Culinary Arts Program, Scholarships and Grants, and the Public Market Kitchen.


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FigFest and Ten 5-Minute Fig Recipes (2024)


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