In this week's edition of our ongoing series called: Ancient Ingredients, Modern Superpowers we'll be diving into the sacred nature of one of Greece's favorite superfood, figs. Our family home in Koroni had a fig tree on the property and I have such fond memories of my grandmother teaching me how to eat them. Read on to discover the extraordinary powers of the superfoods of Greece & the Mediterranean for health, happiness and longevity.
Where do Mediterranean figs come from? Figs are one of the most loved superfoods in Greek history. But, you might be surprised to learn that they did not originate from Greece! In 9 B.C., figs were believed to be brought to Ancient Greece from Egypt - but their growth quickly spread across the land. Ancient Greeks came to believe that figs represented prosperity and peace. Nowadays, they still thrive in the Mediterranean climate, and you can find them growing nearly everywhere. They are a major staple in Mediterranean diets.
What makes Greek figs so special? Although figs did not originate in Greece, they have become a major staple of Greek diet and culture. At one time in Greece's history, figs were believed to be so valuable, they could not be exported! Because of Greece's moderate temperature and constant sunshine, figs thrive - so much so that nowadays, August is known as "fig month" in Greece, because the fruit is so plentiful and ripe. Greeks consume figs year-round, whether fresh or dried, because of their health benefits and delicious taste.
What are the health benefits? Figs are not only rich in many vitamins and minerals, but they are packed with fiber and antioxidants. One of the main health benefits that figs provide is lowering blood pressure and protecting the bone. They are packed with potassium and calcium - two necessary nutrients for longevity. Among other health benefits, figs are a natural aphrodisiac. The Ancient Greeks believed in their powers for fertility, and now modern science backs it up - they are packed with minerals, like iron, that strengthens fertility for women and men.
How can I use it in my every day? Figs are delicious on their own or incorporated in recipes. One of my favorite ways to enjoy them is simply drizzled with a little bit of honey or paired with feta cheese! They are also perfect as a salad topping, like this recipe, drizzled with our Fig Balsamic Vinegar as a dressing. But, our delicious Fig & Balsamic Chocolate bar is definitely a favorite (healthy and delicious!) after dinner snack.
How do you use this ancient superfood in modern ways? Are there other Mediterranean superfoods you'd like us to cover? Respond to this note or tag us on Instagram @kosterina with your thoughts!
Peace, love & EVOO, Katerina
Olive Oil Sommelier, Katerina Mountanos, is the Founder & CEO of Kosterina. Katerina is very passionate about olive oil, the Mediterranean lifestyle and eating for health and longevity.
Over recent years, research has come to show that many aspects of our long-term health are lifestyle-driven - rather than dictated fully by our genetics. This new-but-growing field of epigenetics is fascinating, and empowering for us all, because it proves that we really are what we eat.