Stewed figs can be a delicious dessert, but they're also an ideal addition to oatmeal and yogurt for a tasty breakfast or snack. You can stew either dried or fresh figs for a warm, sweet treat that also works well with savory dishes.
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"Thanks to the fiber, figs can support digestive health by helping relieve constipation," says Stahl. "Moreover, eating foods with fiber may reduce the risk of heart disease and keep you full for longer, which can help with weight management," she notes.
And it's not just fiber: A half-cup of figs also provides 12 percent of your daily value (DV) of potassium, 8 percent of your calcium DV and other vitamins and minerals.
Read more: 19 High-Fiber Foods — Some May Surprise You!
Which Types of Figs Should You Choose?
Fresh figs are perishable, but dried figs are hardy, available year-round and easy to ship and store. "If they're available and in season, fresh figs would always be my first choice," says Palak Patel, a chef at the Institute of Culinary Education.
Black Mission figs are a common fresh variant you'll spot at your supermarket or farmers' market, says Patel. "When you slice them open, they're beautiful and pink inside," she says. Another common variety is the Brown Turkey fig, says Patel. These are a bit less pink inside, and well suited for eating raw (when ripe) or stewing, she says.
Other options you may spot at the store include the golden-brown Calimyrna and Kadota figs. Most figs are available fresh from mid-May through November, although the growing season can vary slightly from one variety to another, according to the California Fig Growers Association.
Dry figs are available year-round, so if you opt for dried, make sure to watch out for one thing: "When it comes to eating dried figs, the only ingredient listed should be the fig itself," says Stahl. So, avoid options that have extra preservatives or added sugar.
How to Stew Dried Figs
What You'll Need
- 1 pound dried figs
- 2 to 3 cups of water
How to Do It
- Cut off the fig stems with scissors and cut the figs into bite-sized pieces. Pro tip: Spray the blades of your scissors with vegetable oil to prevent the dried figs from sticking when you cut them.
- Place the figs in a saucepan and cover them with 2 to 3 cups of water.
- Cook the figs over low heat until they are soft, about half an hour.
- Drain the figs in the colander and set them aside to cool.
How to Stew Fresh Figs
What You'll Need
- 8 large, fresh figs
- 1/4 cup sugar
How to Do It
- Trim the stems off the fresh figs with scissors.
- Place the fresh figs in a saucepan and then add water until they are covered. Stir the sugar into the water until it dissolves. Add more sugar if your figs aren't sweet.
- Place the saucepan on the burner, and turn the heat to medium-high. Heat until boiling.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer the fresh figs until tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Instead of water, you can stew figs in alcohol, such as port, brandy or red wine, Patel says.
- Add sliced orange or lemon to the simmering figs for flavor. You can also add whole spices, such as cinnamon, star anise, vanilla bean or nutmeg.
How to Serve Stewed Figs
You can eat your stewed figs just as they are, but you can also get creative with some delicious serving suggestions.
- Use them as a topping: Place them on top of oatmeal or alongside yogurt as well as frozen yogurt and ice cream, suggests Stahl. Cottage cheese is another good accompaniment, says Patel.
- Add cooked figs to pancakes or waffles: Add a half-cup cup stewed figs to your pancake or waffle recipe, says Stahl.
- Pair them with dairy for dessert: Stewed figs are delicious with burrata cheese, says Patel. Or whip up mascarpone cheese with lemon juice and honey, and place your stewed figs on top.