It may be apple and pumpkin season, but this time of year is also a fabulous time to eat figs. Soft or chewy (depending on the variety), and with a hint of sweetness, fresh and dried figs are superfoods for kids. Yet if you’re wondering why they’re so nutritious, the differences between real figs and dried figs, and how to eat figs, I’ve got you covered.
In this post, you’ll learn:
- The many types of figs
- Figs’ nutrition
- Fresh figs vs. dried figs
- How to eat figs + tons of kid-friendly recipes!
TYPES OF FIGS
A fig is a small, soft fruit —about the size of a Roma tomato or a kiwi. It has a thin skin which can vary in color from gold and light green to dark purple. The inside flesh is either red or light brown.
Growing up in an Italian-American neighborhood in Yonkers, N.Y. almost everyone had a fig tree in their yard. The tip-off? A large structure in the front of their house tightly wrapped in a black garbage bag.
Yet the East Coast isn’t typically where figs are grown.
After Turkey, California is the second-largest major production area of figs.
While there are thousands of fig varieties throughout the world, there are 8 types in California which vary in color and flavor profiles:
- Brown turkey
- Black mission figs (dried)
- Golden figs (dried)
FRESH FIGS VS. DRIED FIGS
While both fresh figs and dried figs are packed with nutrients, dried varieties tend to have higher amounts.
However, dried figs also have more sugar.
Another difference between the two is that fresh figs are soft and moist much like prunes, while dried figs are dry and a bit tougher to bite into, which could pose a choking hazard to kids.
Depending on the variety, fresh and dried figs have various flavor profiles too, with some that are sweeter or slightly bitter than others and have deep, earthy, or fruity flavors.
HOW TO EAT FIGS
Now that you know how nutritious figs are for your kids, head to the farmers’ market, local farm stand, or grocery store and bring some home.
While figs may seem an odd choice especially for kids, there are a ton of healthy and delicious ways to serve them.
School snacks or after-school snacks
Instead of apple or pear slices, add fresh or dried figs to your kids’ lunch boxes or serve them as an after-school snack.
You can also pop figs in the oven or on the grill for a healthy and delicious snack.
Related: 74 Hot Lunch Ideas For School
Oatmeal or overnight oats
Figs add a ton of fiber, texture, and sweetness to your kid’s morning oatmeal or a mason jar of overnight oats. Here are some recipes:
Vanilla Fig Oatmeal with Pistachios and Honey — from Recipe Runner
Overnight Oats with Figs and Honey — from Skinnytaste
Yogurt with figs
Most kids’ yogurts are high in added sugars and artificial ingredients. Instead, serve plain, Greek yogurt which is high in protein and add figs. Try these recipes:
Creamy Fig Yogurt Breakfast Parfait Cups — from Cotter Crunch
Fig, Granola and Greek Yogurt Parfait — from Sarah Sharratt
Strawberry Fig Yogurt Smoothie — from Fit As a Mama Bear
Bread and muffins
There’s nothing better on cool autumn mornings than bread or muffins baking in the oven and with figs, you’ve got something extra special.
Fig, Yogurt & Olive Oil Breakfast Cake — from What Do You Crave?
Dark Chocolate Fig Muffins —from Live Laugh Love Food
Banana Fig Bread Recipe With Fresh Figs — from Give Recipe
Fig Bread or Fig Cake — from Hilda’s Kitchen Blog
Related: 25 Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Kids
Kids can grow to try—and even love—salads and adding figs is a great way to add more flavor and something sweet.
Fig & Arugula Salad With Goat Cheese and Pecans — from Feasting at Home
Prosciutto, Mozzarella and Fig Salad with Arugula — from Skinnytaste
Related: How To Get Your Kids To Eat Salad
As an appetizer or side dish
One of my favorite ways to eat figs is in a yummy appetizer.
Pair your favorite bread with a bit of goat cheese, figs, and a drizzle of honey and make a crostini. Or, wrap fresh figs with prosciutto. Try these fig appetizer recipes:
Fig and Goat Cheese Crostini with Honey — from Fox and Briar
Simple Oven Roasted Figs — from Give Recipe
Grilled Figs with Balsamic Glaze and Goat Cheese — from Against All Grain
Fig jam and preserves
With your high-powered blender or Vitamix, you can easily whip up fig jam or preserves your kids will love. Try these recipes:
Homemade Fig Jam With Chia Seeds — from Shaw Simple Swaps
Fig Honey Jam — from Tasty Yummies
Fresh Fig Preserves — from Unconventional Baker
Swap homemade treats for fig newtons
Fig newtons, (now called ‘Newton’s’) are the quintessential childhood treat, but they’re not the best choice. With only 1 gram of protein and 1 gram of fiber, for two small cookies, they have a lot of sugar—12 grams.
Instead, you can make your own healthy, homemade treats with figs. Here are some ideas:
Homemade Fig Bars — from Weelcious
Spiced Fig Energy Balls — from Super Healthy Kids
Healthier Oatmeal Fig Cookies — from Kim’s Cravings
Cacao & Fig Bliss Balls — from From My Bowl
Most kids love pizza so try adding some figs—and some nutrition. Try these recipes:
Fig Pizza With Gorgonzola, Balsamic Onion and Prosciutto — from Striped Spatula
Fig Caramelized Onion Pizza — from Nutmeg Nanny
Apple, Cheddar and Fig Focaccia —from The View From Great Island