According to The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, figs are naturally rich
in potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and manganese; four to five figs contain
just about 150 calories. Because of their high potassium content, they are considered helpful for regulating blood pressure. Additionally, they are among the most highly alkaline
foods so they help support the body’s pH balance. Author Paul Pitchford discusses this in
his book, Healing with Whole Foods—Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition, where he
states that figs balance acidic conditions resulting from a diet rich in meat and refined foods.
Further, as a toxin neutralizer, figs facilitate healing and ease seasonal transitions, such as
the current transition to summer.
Figs originally came to California via southern Europe and the Middle East by way of the
Spanish missionaries, hence the commonly found “Mission fig” with purplish-black skin
and pink flesh. More than 100 varieties exist, ranging in size and color from the larger
Calimyrna with greenish-yellow skin and amber flesh to the smaller Adriatic with light
green skin and pink flesh, and the Brown Turkey with purple skin and red flesh. Note that
the chewy skin, delicate flesh, and crunchy seeds are all edible, so just eat the whole thing
(except the stem, of course).
WHILE FRESH FIGS ARE JUST FANTASTIC ON THEIR OWN, CONSIDER:
> Slathering them with almond butter for a simple breakfast.
> Finely chopping and then rolling them into a gluten-free tortilla, slicing it crosswise, and
baking until figs begin to melt and tortilla becomes brown and crunchy.
> Simply scattering them around a cheese plate with almonds and walnuts.
> Slicing them in half and drizzling with balsamic and grated Manchego cheese (a Spanish
sheep's milk cheese) in this Spanish take on what I think of as a baked cheese plate.
Red Jen Ford is a certified holistic health coach, yoga instructor, and seasonal eating expert. Jen teaches
about the benefits and simplicity of eating local, sustainably-grown food. Enjoy more of her dishes in
her seasonal recipe booklets or online course, Simply in Season – Fall Recipes to Celebrate Healthy, Easy
Seasonal Food. Redjenford.com
Manchego Baked Figs
PREP & COOK TIME: 15 MINUTES
YIELD: 8 SERVINGS
1 pint fresh figs - green Adriatic, black Mission figs, or a combination
1 or 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar* (good quality—aged in wood barrels at least
four years or labeled balsamic vinegar of Modena)
Fresh black pepper
4 oz. Manchego cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cut the figs in half lengthwise with a serrated or sharp paring knife (it may be
helpful to dip your knife into hot water between slices so as to manage the
stickiness). Place onto a baking sheet, cut side up.
3. Drizzle lightly with balsamic vinegar and crack some fresh black pepper over the
top. Grate the cheese atop the figs.
4. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melting and just beginning to brown (when
you smell the nutty Manchego wafting from the oven, it’s just about done). Serve
hot or warm.
Note: It's true that recipes with these few ingredients are simple, but it’s the quality of
the ingredients that make this dish simply delicious! This is the place to showcase great
fruit, cheese, and your best quality balsamic vinegar.
YOGI FOOD // FARMERS' CORNER