Figs are a culinary delicacy par excellence. Oh, how I wish that was my penmanship practice sentence when I was a little girl. Why didn’t my Sunday School teacher tell me that figs were from Biblical times? I would have paid more attention. My geography teacher could have told me about Egypt and Greece and California. My Home Ec (I don’t even think they have that class any more) teacher could have shown us how to select and prepare figs. Our Health teacher could have explained all the wonderful things that figs can do for us. NO, not the Fig Newton cookies with High Fructose Corn Syrup, real life, fresh, perfectly ripened, nutritionally perfect, figs.
Part of the wonder of the fig comes from its unique taste and texture. Figs are lusciously sweet and feature a complex texture that combines the chewiness of their flesh, the smoothness of their skin, and the crunchiness of their seeds. In addition, since fresh figs are so delicate and perishable, some of their mystique comes from their relative rarity. June to September they have to be shipped to Washington state from California. While gallivanting through the produce department, I spy their little plastic mesh baskets and their dollar amount posted below them. I quickly calculate, figure, plan……….should I? Why yes, don’t mind if I do. The price is a bit steep. So every single time I open the refrigerator (stored best in there) for a couple of days, I am tempted to cut open a couple. In no way do I want to throw away a single fig. I am trying to limit myself to 4-5 a day. They are a treat and I want to savor every single one.
Figs grow on the Ficus tree, which is a member of the Mulberry family. Do you want to get more fiber? Eat a fig. Do you want to increase your bone density? Fig have oodles of calcium, so eat a fig. Do you want to slow macular degeneration or keep cancer at bay? The fiber in a fig will help with that. Diabetes issues, fig leaves to the rescue. High Blood Pressure? Yep, you got it, eat a fig. Do you want to manage some weight? Figs and their fiber are on the job. Are you low on potassium, vitamin B6, and manganese? Not if you eat figs you are not.
When walking into a room at a swank Pacific Northwest Hotel (that has a gorgeous waterfall outside the windows), we were greeted with a plate of sliced figs and a little goat cheese and some apple slices and a few local nuts, all beautifully drizzled with some local honey. Oh, be still my heart. I am not sure, but I think that was the most lovely, delicious, gorgeous welcome to our hotel plate of goodness I have ever enjoyed.
Yesterday, a friend sent me a very positive & encouraging email. She asked if I thought honey was a good idea……….. I am quite sure you know my brain was swirling and twirling with all the things GOOD about honey! I think you figured out how my brain works. For now, every single time I drizzle a bit of the golden, sticky, sweet nectar over my precious figs, I will think of my friend.
I am grateful for the fresh fruit of the summer months. Please come over & visit, I will gladly share my figs and honey with you. We will sit in the gazebo and swing our feet like little girls while we eat our figs and lick the honey off the plate with our fingers. In my imagination, it feels lovely to share such sweetness with you.
“Gratitude is the sweetest thing in a seeker’s life- in all human life. If there is gratitude in your heart, then there will be tremendous sweetness in your eyes.” Sri Chinmoy