If your only introduction to the fig is in the Fig Newton, you are missing out on a sweet treat that is available in dried form year-round. The fig is originally from the Middle East and requires full sun and a warm climate to grow. It is highly perishable, which is why the dried version is most commonly used. The sweetness of figs, sometimes described as honey-like, works well with other strong flavors and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.
Fresh figs should be free from bruises and have a deep color. They should also not have any noticeable soft spots. These should be stored in the refrigerator and used within 2 days as they are highly perishable. Rinse and remove the stem before eating or cooking. Dried figs should be stored in an airtight container in a cool spot. Dried figs can be used in a variety of recipes or eaten as a snack. They can also be simmered to make them juicier.
Add fresh or dried figs to your favorite muffin or breakfast bread recipe. Combine figs, caramelized onions, and balsamic vinegar. Simmer until well combined and use as a topping for a sliced baguette. You can even grill a fig! Slice in half lengthwise, brush lightly with oil, and grill for about 2 minutes until softened. Add a small spoonful of soft cheese, like goat cheese, and a little drizzle of honey on top.
One small fig is about 30 calories, is high in fiber, and is a good source of vitamin B6 and potassium.