I don’t remember the first time I had a fresh fig but somewhere along the line I learned to love them. Unfortunately fresh figs are a rarity around these parts so I was super excited to see them in my local grocery store yesterday. Usually the figs I see at the store are in the Newton form.
As soon as I got home with these beauties I remembered a Joy the Baker recipe for oatmeal with roasted figs that I wanted to try. I also think figs go really well in salads with goat cheese and maybe a balsamic glaze…that will probably be what I do with the rest. When researching figs, I found out that California is the only state to grow figs commercially and they have a quick growing season. (That explains why I hardly ever see them!) Figs are another ancient fruit and are believed date back to 4000 B.C. In Greek Methodology, the fig symbolizes the autumn harvest which coincides with its growing season. The growing of fig trees may have also been the start of modern agriculture and it is believed that the first cultivated tree was a fig tree. The fig apparently isn’t even a fruit at all but a flower turned inside out with thousands of blossoms (seeds) contained within. I also learned that figs use a special type of wasp for pollination – it sounds like a very complicated process involving the female wasp being inside the fig and the male wasp follows behind. Not very appetizing but interesting nonetheless.
Anyways, back to the oatmeal. Figs + brown sugar = winning combination! I actually was in a bit of a hurry so I sauteed the figs on the stovetop instead of roasting and it worked out just fine. I also added a few walnuts for a little crunch. If you happen to see fresh figs anytime soon, grab some. You won’t regret it!
Pomegranates are one of those fruits that I was initially intimidated by. I had never eaten them growing up and I had no idea how to deal with getting the seeds out. Well, I am so glad evenutally picked one up at the store a few years ago. The arils (aka seeds) aren’t too hard to remove and are so tasty. Right now, pomegranates are reasonably priced (I think they were 4/$5 at our grocery store this week) and really delicious!
Every time I cut into one I am amazed by all the jewels that were hidden in this not so attractive fruit. I can only imagine how surprised someone was the first time they discovered pomegranates. They are to be believed to date back to ancient times and some believe that the forbidden fruit might have been a pomengranate instead of an apple. Pomengranates are deemed a superfood and have many health benefits. Tons of antioxidants, Vitamin C, fiber, and potassium abound in these juicy morsels.
I find the best way to remove the arils is to take chunks and just pull off the seeds. They usually fall out pretty easily. I have also used the water trick. This contains the messiness a little bit better. Take chunks and pull off the arils under water. The arils will sink and the white fiber will float to the top. Whichever method you use, it doesn’t take too long before you have a bowl full of juicy tart arils.
Today I sprinkled them over yogurt along with walnuts and dark chocolate – I highly recommend this combination. It was delicious!