Buying and enjoying dried and fresh figs

slide-products-ice-creamFlavourful and rich in potassium and fibre, fresh or dried figs add an exotic taste experience to any menu!

Dried figs are available all year round. Withered and wrinkly looking, like other dried fruit such as dates and raisins, they are sweet and terrific for cooking and baking.

Dried figs are wonderful when mixed into a creamy spread. In a food processor, chop 4 small or 6 large dried figs. Add one 8 ounce container of Plain Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese and process until mixed well. Add ¼ cup of finely chopped walnuts, a pinch of salt and blend. Serve on toast rounds, slices of crispy apples, or scooped into crunchy endive leaves.

Fresh figs are available in supermarkets from June to October with most varieties at their peak in fall. While the most varieties are a purplish-black colour, some are a light green with white flesh.

Fresh figs do not continue to ripen once they are picked, so be sure to select fruit that is already ripe. Purchase plump, heavy figs that have unbroken skin that gives slightly when pressed, but isn’t extra soft. The fruit should have a fresh, sweet smell, not sour.

Figs will keep for only a day or two stored in your refrigerator covered in plastic wrap. If you’re planning to eat them fresh, they are at their best flavour at room temperature, so be sure to take them out of the fridge about an hour before serving. To serve, rinse and dry them then remove the stems – the tiny seeds in the lush flesh are to be eaten. Peeling a fresh fig is a matter of taste, some people do some people don’t.

A simple dessert using fresh figs is to cut the fruit in half and sauté them, cut side down in vegan butter and a touch of honey. Prepare one fig for each person. You can tell when they’re done when they’re a little blistered and slightly browned. Put two warm and luscious fig halves in a bowl and top with a scoop of Vanilla Tofutti Premium non-dairy frozen dessert. Enjoy immediately!