Annie and LJ are a fictional couple introduced to readers of the Healthy Healing Eats blog in January 2020. Their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.
The invitation read: Please join us for social distance dining at Jungle Love Vineyard while enjoying the newest release of our Okapi Wines.
This is perfect timing, thought Annie. We have a bumper crop of figs in our neighborhood this year.
“LJ, did you see the invitation from the Johnson’s? I spoke to Kim and let her know we would be there. I also offered to bring figs since they will be ready to harvest. She was delighted and said to come early so they can include them in salads, and to bring as many as we would like to give away, seeing as their guests love figs.”
“That is great; fresh figs go especially well with their estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon. Actually, with any of their wines. There are about five types of fig trees in our neighborhood that appear to be ripening simultaneously. I am going to organize a picking party so we can harvest them. It would be a shame to waste any because they are nutritious, and I know you like them for their powerful anti-aging properties,” teased LJ.
Annie gave him the side-eye, “I still eat my green apple every day for that very reason, but I do enjoy fig season, after all, they are a good source of potassium, fiber, iron, and calcium. You know figs are unique because, unlike other plants that display their blossoms, they grow their tiny flowers inside an edible shell. I love our Sierra’s with their creamy sweet, mild taste. I could eat fresh figs all day, but their natural sugars give them a high glycemic index. Did you know that figs were the original sweetener before sugar? In their dried form, they are even more nutritious than fresh. which helps explain their place in history, and since they traveled well, they were used to treat digestive, reproductive, respiratory, and numerous other ailments.”
“That’s interesting. Did you know there are more than 750 types, and that over 1200 species rely on them for food? Figs are known as The Tree that shaped human history. They were first cultivated around 5000 BC in Western Asia and spread to the Mediterranean. There is a story that says; it was under the Ficus Religiosa fig tree that Buddha attained enlightenment. I prefer the Mission figs with their dark purple skin and sweet flavor, but they won’t be ripe until later in the summer, so in the meantime, I will enjoy Adriatic figs. They are in season now, and our neighbors have a tree loaded with them. People like the “white fig” as a dessert because they are so sweet. Have you tried the Calimyrna figs? They have an interesting story. They were originally grown in Turkey and called the Smyrna fig. When California growers started cultivating it, the name was altered to Cali-Myrna. They have more of a nut-like flavor, so they go well with salads.”
“LJ, I’m not sure why anyone would call a fig a Brown Turkey. It has a rusty red skin, rose interior and is delicious with cheeses like goat and blue. They are originally from Provence France. Further proof that bringing figs to the wine tasting is the perfect addition. On to Napa!”
LJ shook his head and smiled.
Andrea Breaux is the Founder of Healthy Healing Eats. She writes about food-as-medicine and earth-friendly lifestyle practices. Find her weekly blog, recipes, and products at healthyhealingeats.com.