Dried Figs: The Turkish Superfood
Few fruits are as evocative of health, happiness, and overall wellbeing as the Turkish fig. For centuries, fig trees have lined sunny hillsides and streets in Turkey’s heartland and been a beloved staple of the local diet. Whether eaten fresh or naturally sundried, these fruits maintain a vibrant flavor and scrumptious texture that have made them famous worldwide.
This reputation is well-supported by science. Dried figs boast an array of vitamins – A, B, C, and K – and have also been shown to promote vascular health. Rich in minerals including potassium and zinc, and containing roughly 3 grams of fiber per ounce, dried figs also boost healthy digestion. Studies have shown that a diet rich in unprocessed wholefoods such as dried figs can promote calorie efficiency as well.
Figs are as delicious as they are healthy. Their recognizable soft flavor can round out a dish or add a touch of natural sweetness to an array of meals and snacks. They have versatile culinary applications and can be used in dishes ranging from pot roasts to bread loaves to decadent desserts such as the recipe below.
These dried fruits can be sautéed, grilled, stuffed and glazed for unique twists on classic recipes or added to charcuterie boards and dessert spreads for a wholesome, delicious touch. Sweet in flavor, dried figs offer a nice counterpoint to savory fare and taste unexpectedly delicious baked into hearty dishes such as casseroles.
There is no shortage of these Turkish fruits in the United States; in fact, 75% of all dried figs imported to the U.S.A. last year were sourced in Turkey. Turkish figs are widely available at major groceries throughout the country. The quality is in the label, not the brand. If you see “product of Turkey,” you’ll know you’re getting authentic Turkish figs – and the flavor and health benefits that come with these!
Consider adding Turkish figs to your recipes for an unexpected twist. They have to potential to take even the simplest of dishes to the next level and will be sure to impress.
Cream-stuffed dried figs
· 48 Turkish dried figs
· 1 L. whole milk
· 400 g. fresh cream
· 10 g. walnuts
· Ground pistachios to taste
o Strawberry or raspberry puree to taste
o Chocolate or vanilla sauce to taste
1. Place the dried figs in a large bowl and add boiling water. Cover and let soften for 1 hour or until soft. Once softened, drain the water.
2. While the figs are softening, beat the cream and milk together until stiff. Chill and fill a piping bag.
3. Make a large incision in the softened figs. Fill with the desired amount of chilled cream.
4. Sprinkle walnuts and pistachios on top and, if desired, drizzle chocolate or vanilla sauce and strawberry or raspberry puree to taste.
5. For optimal texture and flavor, serve immediately.
Turkish figs have been renowned for their delicious flavor since time immemorial. Planted on sunlit hillsides, harvested, and naturally sun-dried by the attentive hands of local farmers, centuries of tradition have imbued the nation’s figs with a rich array of nutrients and decadent aromas.
Thanks to innovations and initiatives in the Turkish fruit farming industry, figs grown in Turkey have skyrocketed from regional delicacy to international staple. Turkey produces over 50% of the world’s dried figs and exports these fruits to 150 countries globally. Of the 11,472 total tons of dried figs imported by U.S. buyers at a cost of $47.2 million in 2018, 8,640 tons – or 75% – were sourced from Turkey.
Filled with sunny flavor and scrumptious texture, Turkish dried figs are more than just nature’s candy – they boast numerous health benefits as well. Dried figs contain an array of vitamins, as well as nutrients that can help improve vascular health. Studies have shown that a diet rich in such wholefoods can promote calorie-efficiency and healthy digestion.
Backed by centuries of natural production methods and agricultural heritage, Turkey is the homeland of top-quality dried figs. Blending traditional farming techniques with innovative food facilities, the nation excels in the production of some of the healthiest, most delicious figs in the international market.