Everything you ever wanted to know about Figs. Not only are figs a super food, but they’re high in fiber and naturally sweet.
I became interested in figs when I ran across these beautiful vintage illustrations of figs on the New York Public Library Digital Collections website. Aren’t these illustrations just amazing? I know, I say that about all the vintage illustrations I share with you! But, these really are. The detail of the fruit and their amazing leaves combine together for an eye catching print.
Speaking of fig leaves, did you know they are edible as well? Not only are fig leaves edible, but they have also been proven to have anti-diabetic properties that can actually reduce the amount of insulin needed by insulin-dependent diabetics. Okay, now I’m getting ahead of myself.
Let’s first take a look at some of the health benefits of figs (and the fig leaf) and then I’ll share a few ways to incorporate more figs in your diet and finally, I’ll share this set of free printable vintage fig illustrations.
Health Benefits of Figs
In the world in which we live in, it is necessary for me to make this statement: I am not a healthcare professional. The information shared below is based off my research and findings. Opinions expressed are 100% mine. Please use due diligence and discuss any healthcare or dietary issues with your healthcare provider.
Having said that, here are a few of the health benefits of figs. Some of these are still being studied, such as fig leaves ability to inhibit the growth of certain types of cancer cells. From what I read, scientists are still trying to figure out exactly what in the fig leaves this can be attributed to.
- Figs are a good source of dietary fiber.
- Figs are a good source of potassium.
- Figs may help lower high blood pressure.
- Figs may help with weight loss and weight management.
- Figs can help to reduce risk of macular degeneration (vision loss in older adults).
- Fig leaves have antidiabetic properties.
- Fig leaves are a good source of the trace mineral manganese.
- Fig leaves may inhibit the growth of certain types of cancer cells.
Fresh Figs are Delicate and Perishable
Unfortunately, fresh figs can be difficult to find. Have you ever wondered why? You can, of course, go out and buy the infamous Fig Bar cookie. But, fresh figs naturally have a lush sweetness and complex texture that encompasses the chewiness of the outside flesh, the smoothness of the figs skin and the crunchiness of their seeds. They just sound lush and exotic, don’t they?
The reason fresh figs can be so difficult to find is that they have a short shelf life, they are delicate and perishable. Never fear though, you can still enjoy figs because most figs are dried – and for good reason considering their delicate and perishable properties.
If you do happen upon some fresh figs, there are a few things to keep in mind when selecting and storing figs:
- Fresh figs should be used within one or two days of purchase.
- Look for figs that have a rich, deep color, plump and tender, but not mushy!
- Also look for figs without bruises.
- The figs stem should be firm.
- Smell the fig. It should smell slightly sweet. If it smells sour, it’s spoiled.
- Store ripe figs in the refrigerator on a covered and paper towel-lined plate.
- An under-ripe fig should be kept on a plate, at room temperature, away from direct sunlight for a day or two.
- Fresh figs should be rinsed under cool water before eating or cooking.
- You’ll also want to gently remove the stems and wipe them dry.
8 Fig Recipes
I couldn’t possibly talk about figs, without including a few fig recipes. And I couldn’t possibly share fig recipes without first sharing a few recipes for Fig Newtons. As a child, I couldn’t stand Fig Newtons. Those seeds were just too much! In fact, any seed of any kind was on my “I’m not eating that!” list.
Fresh Fig Newtons from Sugar Dish Me
Heather, from Sugar Dish Me, has this amazing recipe for Fresh Fig Newtons. It’s made with fresh figs, of course!
- Click here to visit this recipe on Sugar Dish Me!
Homemade Fig Newtons from Stella Parks and Serious Eats
This “fruit and cake” fig filled cookies recipe from Stella Parks for Good Eats are made with a no-cook fig preserve.
- Click here to visit this recipe on Serious Eats!
Homemade Fig Newtons from Dessert for Two
Christina from Dessert for Two shares this recipe for fig newtons that is a bar cookie instead of a rolled cookie.
- Click here to visit this recipe on Dessert for Two!
Homemade Fig Newtons from Broma Bakery
Sarah from Broma Bakery says that the secret to her recipe is the addition of fresh orange zest and the hint of cinnamon.
- Click here to visit this recipe on Broma Bakery!
Gluten-Free Fig Newtons from All Day I Dream About Food
Carolyn and her blog, All Day I Dream About Food, has quickly become one of my favorite sources for recipe inspiration. I haven’t tried to make these cookies yet, but they’re on my list (along with just about every other recipe she shares). If you have a sweet tooth and prefer low carb or keto recipes, you’ll find them on her blog!
- Click here to visit this recipe on All Day I Dream About Food!
Stuffed Figs with Goat Cheese from Tori Avey
I fell in love with goat cheese when I had my first slice of caramelized onion pizza with goat cheese at Wolf Gang Puck’s restaurant in Niagara Falls, Canada (that location is now permanently closed – sorry). So, when I saw this recipe for goat cheese stuffed figs from Tori Avey, I just had to share them with you!
- Click here to visit this recipe on Tori Avey!
Fresh Fig and Honey Compote from Miss in the Kitchen
A very easy recipe and way to use up fresh figs, if you just so happen to have some is to make compote. What is compote? Well, it’s essentially fruit cooked in a syrup. For this recipe from Miss in the Kitchen, she uses honey, water, cinnamon and butter, along with fresh figs, of course.
- Click here to visit this recipe on Miss in the Kitchen!
Small Batch Fig Honey Jam from Flavor the Moments
The last, but not least, fig recipe I wanted to share with you today is this jam recipe from Marcie of Flavor the Moments. I particularly like her recipe because it’s a small batch recipe.
- Click here to visit this recipe on Flavor the Moments!
5 Free Printable Fig Vintage Illustrations
So, now that I’ve shared with you everything that you could possibly want to know about figs and then some, plus eight amazing fig recipes, I’m ready to share these free printable fig vintage illustrations with you. In fact, you could almost say that today’s blog post if jam packed with figs! (ha!)
Download the Fig Prints
I’ve put all five vintage fig illustration prints together in one convenient PDF. You can download the set for FREE as a subscriber to The Birch Cottage newsletter. You can sign up below:
Once you confirm your subscription by clicking on the link in your confirmation email, you will be redirected to the download in the Subscribers Resource Library. The Library is really a shared Google Drive folder and is full of free printable documents, cut files, patterns and more that are available exclusively to subscribers – just like you!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
Printing and framing your vintage illustrations couldn’t be simpler. Here’s a list of supplies and tools that you might need to make the job easier:
- Downloaded the free prints
- Cardstock paper
- Picture frame (8″×10″ or frame with mat)
- Paper trimmer or scissors
1. DOWNLOAD AND PRINT
Sign up to get the free printable fig vintage illustrations using the form earlier in this blog post. Then download the free PDF and print your preferred design. Remember, choosing the highest quality settings in your printer settings will give you the best quality print.
2. TRIM AND CUT
I always recommend using nice cardstock paper for your prints. Whether you’re using cardstock or printer paper, you’ll want to cut and trim the prints using either a pair of scissors or a paper trimmer to fit the frame for your project (typically 8″x10″).
Once you’ve printed and trimmed your print to the appropriate size, you’ll want to place it in a frame. If you’re using a matted frame, it may not be necessary for you to trim the print first.
More Vintage Illustrations
Of course, you can download your own illustrations from the NYPL or other digital collections of public domain books, but you might prefer to obtain your prints here on The Birch Cottage. Why? Well, because I actually go through the process of trying to clean them up just a little so that they look at little nicer when you print them.
Here are a few of my favorites:
- Four Seasons Vintage Illustrations
- Vintage Airplane Illustrations
- Vintage Botanical Illustration Cards
Plus you can always visit the Vintage Illustrations page here on The Birch Cottage blog, too!
Which fig recipe are you going to try? If you do try any of them, I’d love to hear about it! Or if you have a favorite fig recipe, I’d love to know about that, too. Just leave me a comment below.
And don’t forget about the fig prints. Aren’t they just lovely?! I hope you are able to find a use for them!
Til next time…