Eat Seasonally in August: Cooking and Baking With Fresh Figs

Each month, we feature a seasonal ingredient. Fresh figs are delicious, nutritious, and go perfectly with goat cheese in appetizers, desserts, and on pizza.

While fall may be approaching, it’s still summertime now, and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables are in season. The markets are full of corn on the cob, tomatoes, and peaches. But if you want to try something different, consider adding fresh figs to your recipe rotation this month.

Keep reading to learn more about what makes figs so good (and good for you), how to select and store them, and a few recipes that feature fresh figs. There’s much more to this fruit than Fig Newtons.

All About Fresh Figs

Figs are an ancient fruit. Archaeological evidence of figs has been found dating back to 5000 BCE. They’ve slowly made their way from the Middle East to growing locations around the world, including California, Utah, and Texas in the US.

If you’ve seen a fig tree, you may have noticed these trees don’t bloom. Figs are actually inverted flowers; the blossom is inside the skin, along with seeds that are the true fruit.

Fig trees don't bloom. Figs are actually inverted flowers; the blossom is inside the skin, along with seeds that are the true fruit.

Fresh figs are high in fiber, minerals like calcium and potassium, and vitamins like B6. Dried figs are even higher in calcium than fresh ones. Studies have also shown other health benefits of figs, and they’ve long played a role in traditional medicine.

Selecting and Storing Fresh Figs

Unless you live on the west coast or in Texas, it may take some exploring to find fresh figs. If they aren’t carried at your local chain supermarket, try an organic grocery or specialty food store.

Many varieties of figs are available, beyond the Black Mission figs you may see most often. The California Fig Advisory Board likens the taste of various figs to wines like Cabernet and Chardonnay. Before you go fig shopping, get familiar with different varieties so you can choose one best suited to your recipe.

Choose fresh figs that are soft but not mushy, with a stem that doesn't wiggle much. Store them covered in the refrigerator until you're ready to use them.

Being a subtropical fruit, figs are highly perishable. Be sure you know when and how you plan to use them before you buy, because they will start to dry out within a couple days. Choose fresh figs that are soft but not mushy, with a stem that doesn’t wiggle much. Store them covered in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them.

Want to know even more about figs? The California Fig Advisory Board website hasĀ all the details on growing, drying, and freezing figs. In this post, we’re going to focus on what to do with fresh figs.

Recipes Featuring Fresh Figs

Chances are, if you search for recipes for figs, they’re going to involve goat cheese too. Figs and goat cheese go together like peanut butter and jelly. They’re such a great match we have to highlight three recipes that revolve around this combination of ingredients.

Baked Figs With Goat Cheese

Need an appetizer that’ll knock your guests’ socks off? Look no further than this one from Tasty Kitchen. It’s so simple and versatile too. Try this recipe with different cheeses, nuts, and spices. We’re already thinking about how well rosemary would pair with the flavors of figs and goat cheese. If you can find different varieties of figs where you live, feel free to swap those out too.

Roasted Figs in Goat Cheese Custard

If you’ve already got a go-to appetizer, but you need a new dessert recipe to wow your guests, you’re in luck. We can hardly wait to try this elegant dessert from Savor the Best. It may sound complicated, but it’s actually quite straightforward. Be sure you have individual, oven-proof baking dishes on hand — we like these stackable ramekins from Le Creuset.

Fig and Goat Cheese Pizza

For your main dish, try figs as a pizza topping. This recipe from Tori Avey also includes arugula and caramelized onions. She even drizzles her pizza with a maple-balsamic reduction. We think this pizza sounds so incredible, it’s worthy of serving to guests too. Don’t forget a pizza peel and pizza cutter, like the eco-friendly ones from Epicurean.

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