For the next edition in the Sunnah superfoods series, it’s FIG SEASON. Figs can undoubtably, for some, be an acquired taste. For one, they are less sweet than other fruits, and they also have a bit of a different textured skin. Figs are one of the oldest crops cultivated by humans, going back perhaps 11,000 years. Figs are mentioned in the scriptural traditions of the Abrahamic faiths, and figs are one of the few fruits mentioned by name in the Quran, which includes an entire Surah named after them, At-Tin. Figs are also mentioned in the scholar Ibn al-Qayyim’s excellent work “The Prophetic Medicine.”
Figs in the Quran
Surah Tin: 1-3 mentions figs specifically, along with olives: “By the Fig and the Olive,/And (Mount) Tur of Sinin,/And this city of security (Mecca).”
Hadith About Figs
The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Eat figs! If I would say a certain type of fruit was sent down to us from the heavens I would say it’s a fig because it has no seeds. It ends (cures) the piles and is useful for rheumatism.”
Figs Are the Original Superfood
Figs are a rich source of calcium, iron, magnesium, Vitamin B6, and potassium, and are low in fat, and high in fiber. They provide more fiber than any other common fruit or vegetable, and also provide a unique combination of soluble and insoluble fiber, which makes the fiber in figs especially easy for the body to absorb. Figs actually could make up a complete diet and one could live on figs alone. Figs have many health benefits which you can find online, including on WebMD and other well-known and highly credible sources of medical and nutritional information.
Fig season in North America is early June, and then again August to October. However, dried figs, also known as “anjeer” are available all year round.
How to eat Figs?
Figs are excellent when eaten fresh with a glass of milk, with cheese, or even just on their own. Fig spread is excellent paired over goat cheese, and figs are tasty chopped in spinach salad dried or fresh, as well as cooked in couscous or quinoa. Additionally, dried or fresh figs and sliced pears can be excellent paired with fish like sole, tilapia, or cod baked in for 20 minutes in the oven.
However, for a specific Muslim Girl exclusive recipe…
Black Bean Soup with Oyster Mushrooms and Figs
3 cups of Black beans (dried)
8 cups of vegetable stock
1 large onion, diced
1 15oz can of tomato sauce
1 6oz can of tomato pasts
½Tsp Crushed red pepper flakes
1Tsp Ground cumin
3 cups oyster mushrooms, coarsely chopped
2 cups cremini or white mushrooms sliced
2 cups fresh, firm figs, stems removed and halved
Two medium carrots, diced
5 celery stalks, diced
1 large onion, diced
10 garlic cloves, minced
1 red pepper, diced
¼ Tsp Crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Soak black beans overnight covered in water.
Saute one onion in three tablespoons of olive oil until onion is translucent; about 5 minutes. Add the beans, the vegetable stock, the tomato sauce and tomato paste, ½ Tsp crushed red pepper, and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours or until soft. If the level of liquid gets too low, add more water or stock.
When beans are done, continue to simmer them gently and start vegetables. Saute one onion in three tablespoons of olive oil until translucent; about five minutes. Add carrot, celery, and cook for about another five minutes. Add mushrooms, red pepper and cook for another 10 minutes. Add the figs and cook for three minutes. The figs will fall apart and make the vegetables syrupy with some small bits left. Add the vegetables to the beans, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan for the carmelized bits at the bottom.
Serve in bowls with yoghurt, sour cream, brewer’s yeast, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or parsley sprinkled on top (all optional).
Makes 10 servings.
FIG Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1 fig or 40g
Total Fat 0.1g : 0 % of the RDI
Sodium 0.4mg: 0 % of the RDI
Total Carbohydrate 7.7g: 3 % of the RDI
Dietary Fiber 1.2g: 5 % of the RDI
Protein 0.3g: 1 % of the RDI
Vitamin A: 1 % of the RDI
Vitamin C: 1 % of the RDI
Calcium: 1 % of the RDI
Iron: 1 % of the RDI
Niacin: 1 % of the RDI
Pantothenic Acid: 1 % of the RDI
Riboflavin: 1 % of the RDI
Thiamin: 2 % of the RDI
Copper : 1 % of the RDI
Magnesium: 2 % of the RDI
Phosporus: 2 % of the RDI
Manganese: 3 % of the RDI
Vitamin B6: 2 % of the RDI
Sarah is a social worker in the San Francisco Bay Area with at-risk and homeless youth. She likes to paint, drum, sing, and spend quality time with her family and God in her free time. She is currently working on a book on Sufism, mindfulness and recovery from co-occurring disorders and on an album with her band EYETestify.