Do you remember this commercial? I don’t know why it’s stuck with me all these years. There was an English boy sitting in his bed eating fig newtons and his mother comes in to tell him there is no eating cookies in bed. He then replies, “Mummy, it’s not a cookie. It’s a fig newton.” She allows it then.
Aaahhh, yes. I loved those things.
What developed later in life for me was an actual like for real figs. They are super hard to find in my area, but I had great pleasure in finding them at the farmer’s market the other day. They are a tad too sweet and gooey for me so I love to eat them with some prosciutto or a good, “bitey” cheese. But their sweetness and gooieness make them an excellent treat for someone trying to wean themselves off of a processed sugar addiction. (Try it!)
As with almost all of my food posts, I was struck by the thought that I don’t know a lot about the make-up and properties of a fig. So I explored and researched and here’s what I found out:
While figs are high in calories, because of their natural high sugar content, they are also high fiber. They contain high amounts of pectin which is the soluble fiber good for lowering cholesterol, but this also means that an over indulgence can create a laxative effect. (This is good if you are suffering from chronic constipation.) These little nuggets of gooey goodness also can supply you with about a fifth of your daily calcium, iron and magnesium. They can also supply you with a healthy dose of potassium (more than 750mg) and reasonable amounts of B6 and folate.
Figs spoil easily so only splurge on a few. This is why they are more readily available in dried form. Make sure when purchasing they are soft, but not mushy, with no signs of mold or wrinkling skin.
There are organic forms of our favorite fig cookie. And a fig cookie typically has lower amounts of fat and sugar than a regular kind of cookie. So these aren’t a bad alternative if you are craving something sweet. But please, no eating them in bed and make sure you brush your teeth!