Monday, August 15, 2005

National Fig Week

Mission Figs
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
August 23th marks the beginning of National Fig Week!

Figs are a very interesting fruit. In fact thy're not really a fruit! They're a flower that has folded in on itself providing a very tasty little snack.

Figs were first brought to the U.S. by Spaniards. San Diego was their first California home. The first place I encountered a fig was in Oceanside, California. We had a fig tree growing in the front yard. The flavor of figs still takes me back to the wonderful years spent in the hot sun, smelling the salt air and snagging a fresh fig off the tree. Mmmmm.

I didn't know back then how good these little portable snacks were for you. In fact, we all love to talk about the antioxidant benefits of blueberries and other berries. Did you know that figs have higher antioxidants (polyphenols) than any other fruit? The polyphenol level of blueberries is about 325mg compared to figs at 1025mg for the same serving size!

Then when you compare the potassium levels you have an even greater reason to eat these on a daily basis. Everyone knows that you need to keep your potassium levels in balance, especially runners. Most people will grab a banana and think they're covered. Well, sort of, in a 100 gram serving of figs you get 609 mg of ptoassium. Bananas in the same amount only give you 257mg. The closest fruit to figs in potassium levels are dates at 600mg.

Figs are also very high in fiber - in a serving of figs you get 20% of your daily requirement as established by the USDA.

Calimyrna Fig Go grab yourself a few figs!