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Chances are, figs were not the most common fruit at your dinner table when you were growing up. Although it is well-known, the fig carries a perception of being a rare treat, something to be enjoyed only once in awhile. This idea is maintained because of the fruit’s relatively short growing season, as well as its even shorter shelf life—it should be eaten within two days of being picked.1
In the kitchen
There are more than 150 varieties of figs, and they should have a rich, deep color and be plump and tender without being mushy when chosen. The fig grows on the ficus tree, which is a member of the mulberry family, and it has a sweet, chewy flesh, smooth skin and crunchy seeds. The majority of figs are dried, but fresh ones are a treat that can be obtained from June to September.1
Fig leaves are edible as well, and have anti-diabetic properties that can reduce the amount of insulin needed in people with diabetes. Figs also are good sources of potassium, fiber and calcium, and are largely produced in California, Turkey, Greece, Portugal and Spain. They can be enjoyed in appetizers, jams and jellies, desserts, and salads, as well as just by themselves for a sweet indulgence.1
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