In order to avoid infestation, it is important to understand how parasites operate, and then take the necessary steps to avoid becoming an unwilling host.
How Are Parasites Transmitted? Let Me Count the Ways…
It’s a parasite’s job to infest, and they have designed a variety of clever ways to invade their hosts – i.e. you.
Just like some air-borne viruses, bacteria, and fungi can infect human beings if accidentally inhaled, so can parasites/eggs that are being carried on the wind along with other dust particles. Yes, you can inhale parasites into your lungs.
In North America, Histoplasmosis, Valley fever, and Hanta virus are examples of parasitic diseases associated with bat dung (used in some fertilizers), dust, and rodent feces.
Parasitic worms are readily transmitted from pets and other animals such as beef and swine tapeworms. Cat litter boxes may pose a threat of toxoplasmosis; the Toxoplasma gondii parasite is found in cat feces. Dogs carry Echinococcus, an intestinal tapeworm the eggs of which spread over a dog’s fur via its anus. Unhealthy human contact with infected dogs, such as kissing, transports the eggs into the human intestine from where they can make their way to a host’s brain and liver. Birds and even Fish have parasites that can and do infect humans, as well.
Bloodsucking insects (mosquitoes, flies, fleas, etc.) can transmit parasites through bites as they endeavor to feed on human blood. Insect-borne pathogens are not normally a danger to their natural hosts – a rodent for example – but can become extremely harmful in unnatural hosts such as human beings.
Protozoa – such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia – are transmitted through drinking water that has been contaminated with fecal material from infected persons. They can be found in both running streams and the tap water in many large North American cities served by surface water treatment plants. Even the chlorinated water that comes from the faucet can harbor certain parasites and outbreaks of illness do occur. Schistosomes such as the deadly Trematoda fluke, however, can only be transmitted through skin contact with contaminated water.
One of the most common ways of contracting a parasitic infection is through food intake; including beef, pork, poultry, fish, and even fresh vegetables and fruits. Unless properly washed, vegetables grown on farms fertilized with infected human waste can transmit the eggs of various parasites. When swallowed with contaminated food, parasites can be infective. This can easily occur in household settings, or in restaurants where health inspections at even the most expensive world-class restaurants reveal that employees harbor fecal matter under their nails.
Some parasites – the roundworm nematode, for example – spend their immature egg stage in warm, moist soil, just waiting for a new host to invade. Walking bare-footed or sitting on fecally-contaminated soil can be an invitation to the eggs of hookworms or strongyloides, who penetrate the exposed skin and migrate through the human body to the intestinal tract. Some types of worms are reported to be able to jump from the ground to your ankles and bore into your skin. Other parasites live in wet grass, mud puddles, or in standing water.
This common seasoning has been used as medicine in many cultures for more than 3,000 years.
Garlic inhabits at least 2 of the enzymes involved in the production of cholesterol by the liver, thus lowering cholesterol synthesis.
Not only is delicious and aromatic but it is an anti-inflammatory, immune-stimulating, antimicrobial. Microbes, including the fungi that infect the skin.
Also garlic has remarkable antibiotic and anti-fungal properties that can heal many types of health disorders, including vaginal infections (no matter what there cause may be from), lyme disease and even prevents cancer.
Because garlic can irritate the skin, dilute it in olive oil. Mash or blend a clove with about 2 tsp. and apply paste to skin. Remove after an hour.
For fungi that infect the skin such as, athlete’s foot, jock inch, ringworm create a garlic infused oil by adding 4 garlic cloves, crushed to a jar or air tight glass container, that has 1/4 cup olive oil in it. Let stand at room temp for about 3 days, strain and store in the frig for up to 6 months. Apply the oil to the skin 2-3 times day.
For intestinal parasites such as giardia and amoebas, and worms such as hookworm, tapeworm, pinworm and even roundworm. Include 2-3 raw cloves in your diet day.
The use of crushed up Garlic as a means to kill off infections is a great remedy.
Any cuts or wounds on your skin that seem like they are getting infected should be rubbed with crushed up garlic , dilute with about 1 tsp olive oil if need be. Leave it on for no more than 10 minutes at a time…but do on and off until the infection is gone. While your body heals it should always remain red looking until the new layer of skin has returned fully. Larger cuts or wounds sometimes are prone to getting infected.
For the most part the infections are never big, but if left unattended there is a chance that they could become dangerous…
Garlic is also known to possess many beneficial properties that improve overall health, along with lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol.
Garlic contains substances that discourage platelets from sticking together. Not only will consumption gradually reduce blood clot occurrences but will in time, prevent blood clots altogether. Garlic breaks down fibrin-based clots, which form into stroke causing emboli. Just include 1-3 cloves of garlic in your diet daily. Eat raw or cook as little as possible.
It also helps with pneumonia as well as helping with angina, which is a pain that occurs when the heart isn’t getting enough oxygen and it is used to treat bronchitis and asthma.
The anti-inflammatory substance quercetin, helps calm the allergic response during hay fever season.
Garlic is actually a very potent antibacterial and antiviral agent that helps ward off sinusitis.
It is also believed by some researchers, that garlic will help bring down triglyceride levels. A triglyceride is a glyceride that occurs naturally in tissues and consists of three fatty acids that are bound together in a single molecule. They are an important energy source forming much of the fat stored in the body.
Having trouble stomaching raw garlic?
Try thinly slicing it.
I’ll wrap it in string cheese, add it to a slice of pizza, or put it on a salad… My favorite way to eat Garlic is thinly sliced in a grilled cheese sandwich. You could always try to marinate it in a combination of equal parts honey and fresh lemon juice and cover. Store in frig for up to 2 days. Eat 1-2 tsp 3 or 4 times a day.
Either way, get it in your diet!!!
Word of Caution:
May inter act with Anticoagulant drugs.
Consult your doctor if you have stomach inflammation, take warfarin or other blood thinners, or expect to have a surgery soon.
Also when treating vaginal infections it takes 5-10 days. Then add yogurt to your diet to balance back out your PH.
Also may cause heartburn and/or flatulence.
Dried Eucalyptus Tea Recipe
- 1 cup boiling Water
- 1/2 tsp. dried Eucalyptus Leaves
- Honey, to taste
To make eucalyptus tea, pour boiling water over dried eucalyptus leaves. Cover and steep for 10 minutes; strain. Sweeten with honey, to taste. You can drink up to 2 – 3 cups a day.
However, Eucalyptus tea made of dried eucalyptus leaves has lost most of its healing power and should be avoided as herbal medicine. Instead it’s best to cut small branches with a few dozen fresh leaves and keep this fresh branches in a vase with water to prevent drying of the leaves.
Fresh Eucalyptus Tea Recipe
Take a single leave, break the eucalyptus leave into small pieces or cut it in to pieces, put in a large cup, add hot water and let rest for about 4-6 minutes – then add honey or brown sugar. The bits of leaf should then be strained and discarded. Take care not to ingest the eucalyptus oil directly, as it is extremely strong and somewhat volatile. Then drink in small sips while hot.
You can drink one or 2 cups of eucalyptus tea just for fun or as preventive medicine. If you have a cough, then you drink 4-5 large cups per day.
Caution: In large doses eucalyptus can cause nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Do not use more than 1/2 teaspoon per cup of water.
Herbal Tea Recipe for Asthma & Bronchitis
- 1 1/2 ounce dried eucalyptus leaves
- 1 ounce dried coltsfoot leaves
- 1 ounce dried thyme leaves
Use one teaspoon of this herbal mixture per cup of boiling water. Make this tea mixture to help open a tight respiratory tract and congested lungs. The herbal ingredients in this tea are known for their antispasmodic and disinfectant properties.
Herbal Tea Recipe for Acne
- 1 ounce dried eucalyptus leaves
- 1 ounce dried dandelion roots and leaves mixture
- 3/4 ounce dried licorice root
- 3/4 ounce fennel seeds
Use 1 teaspoon of this herbal mixture per cup of boiling water. You can drink this herbal tea as prescribed above, or use it as a facial wash. Either way, it is effective in healing such skin conditions as acne.
Eucalyptus Tea Recipe for Head Colds
- 1/2 ounce dried eucalyptus leaves
- 1 ounce dried peppermint leaves
- 1/2 ounce dried chamomile flowers
Use 1 teaspoon of this herbal mixture per cup of boiling water. Sweeten with honey to taste. These herbs are prescribed for their decongestants and expectorant effects. Eucalyptus is antiseptic, as well, and is very helpful for a head cold, sinus congestion and the flu.
- Distillation equipment, including at least a tank or retort, a condenser, a furnace or other heat source and a separator.
- Glass tubing to connect distillation components
- Plant materials from which to extract the oils
- Containers made of dark glass or stainless steel in which to store the oils
Obtain or build a still. If you want to try building a still, you’ve got plenty of room for creativity – there are thousands of still designs, and even today, many stills are homemade. The key components of a still are:
- The heat source or furnace, which is used to boil the water. Direct fire, a fire built under the retort is the oldest method for heating the still. Today, we can also use gas, such as propane or butane, and electricity. Fuel costs are a major factor when considering a heat source for you distiller.
- The holding tank or retort, which holds both the water and just above the water on a grate or false bottom – picture a vegetable steamer – the plant material to be distilled.
- The condenser, which collects the steam and cools it, usually by piping it through a tube immersed in cold water, and…
- The separator, which separates the essential oil from the water vapor. The separator, or Essencier, is one of the most important pieces of apparatus a distiller can have. This enables the distiller to separate the essential oils from the distillate in a passive manner.
Harvest your raw material. The quantity of essential oils contained in a plant varies over the course of the plant’s development, so it is essential to harvest at the right time. This will depend on the type of plant, so you need to do some research to determine when to harvest. It is also critical to harvest the plants correctly – careless handling, harvesting the wrong parts, even harvesting at the wrong time of day can reduce the quantity and quality of the essential oils. Again, research the plant you wish to distill. Generally plants that are in whole form (not crushed or powdered) are best.
Dry the plant material. Drying reduces the amount of oil in each plant, but can greatly increase your yield per batch because you will be able to fit more material into each batch. Drying should be done slowly and NOT in direct sunlight. You can choose not to dry your plant material. Commercially grown plants such as lavender and peppermint may be allowed to dry in the field after cutting for a day or so. The ideal drying method varies from plant to plant, but in general you should not overheat the plants – drying in the shade or even in a dark room minimizes the oil lost – you should not over dry them, and you must not allow the plants to become wet again before distillation. Distill as soon as possible after drying. Remember when drying plant material, exercise care not to allow the material to become contaminated with dirt, dust or other contaminants. Contamination will reduce the quality of your oil and may make it unusable. Also when distilling most flowers, skip the drying process and distill soon after harvesting.
Add water to the tank of your still. Use clean water, ideally filtered or distilled and as soft as possible. If you’re using a manufactured still, follow the manufacturer’s direction. Otherwise, simply make sure you have enough water in the still to complete the distillation; depending on the plant and on the quantity, distillation can take anywhere from a half-hour to six hours or more after the water boils. Be sure that the water level is close to, but not touching, the false bottom that will hold the plant material. If you are performing a hydrodistillation (this is useful for delicate flowers or powdered roots, bark or wood), you will need to have your plant material free-floating in the water. Remember Do not distill a batch for too long (check recommendations for the specific plant), as this will add little additional oil but may possibly contaminate your batch with unwanted chemical compounds.
Add your plant material and pack it tightly in the still. You do not need to chop or cut the plant material, and doing so will cause you to lose some of the oils. The plant material should rest on the false bottom or grate above the water and should touch the sides of the still as little as possible. The layer of plant material can be quite thick as long as it is below the steam outlet (a couple of inches below the outlet for a small still, a foot below for a large one).
Close the still and boil the water. Most plants will release their essential oils at 100 degrees Celsius or 212 degrees Fahrenheit, the normal boiling point of water.
Remember to keep an eye on the still. After a while the distillate should begin to come through your condenser and into your separator. The process should be fairly hands-off, but you will want to ensure that you do not run out of water in your still. Depending on the length of the distillation process, you may also need to change the water in the condenser so that the cooling process continues to work. Follow the instructions for the particular plant you are distilling.
Filter the collected oil. Once your distillation is complete you may filter the oil through cheesecloth or similar dry cotton fabric. Ensure that the cloth is dry and clean – detergent residues as well as dirt can contaminate the oil.
Pour the oil into a container for storage. Do this as quickly as possible. Most essential oils can be kept for at least two years, but some have extraordinary shelf lives. To maximize the useful life of your oil, keep it in a dark glass bottle or stainless steel container. Use a clean funnel to pour the oil into the container, and make sure the container is impeccably clean before pouring the oil into it. Store in a cool, dark place.
Decide what to do with the hydrosol. The distillation process produces the essential oil and a hydrosol, the term for the water that has been distilled and which collects in the separator. Some hydrosols are usable themselves like rose water or lavender water, for example. If you do not wish to save the hydrosol you can pour it into the still for the next batch (but only if you will be distilling another batch immediately) or you can discard it.
You can also place plant material directly into the water. This method is easier, but the quantity and quality of the resulting oil will be reduced. The best distillation method is steam distillation, in which the water is boiled in a separate retort and then pumped into the retort which holds the plant material. This method makes the best quality oil and allows you to control the process better, but it is more complicated (and more expensive) to set up.
You will need a lot of plant material to make a little essential oil. You may just decide to make hydrosols. If that is the case a small distiller such as a 5 liter or 10 liter copper distiller will be adequate. If you plan to make essential oils, consider obtaining a larger apparatus. A 40 liter rotating column alembic distiller, for example, will enable you to make up to 5 ounces of essential oil and a large quantity of hydrosols.
Most essential oils are held in the plant’s oil glands, veins and hairs, which are very fragile. If you disturb or break them, you will reduce your yield of oil, so it is essential to handle the plants with care and to handle them as little as possible.
Stainless steel and glass are the best materials for your distillation components. Do not use plastic tubing. Copper pots are traditionally used for the retort, and these work well for a variety of plants, but some plants contain chemicals that react with copper to produce unwanted impurities – heavily tinned copper is suitable in all cases, however. Aluminum can also be used, but not with plants, such as wintergreen and cloves, the oils of which contain phenols.
While distillation removes many impurities. Pesticides and herbicides can contaminate your oil. For this reason it is best to use organically grown plants, whether you purchase them or grow your own. Remember Organic does not mean that pesticides or fertilizers were not applied to the plant, just different from commonly used synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.
Remember Essential oils are extremely concentrated, and it is often advisable to dilute them in a carrier oil before applying them to skin. The most popular carrier oils are almond oil and grapeseed oil, but a variety of different oils can be used. They can be added during the bottling process or mixed with the pure oil just prior to use. The latter is often preferable because you may not want diluted oil for some uses, and carrier oils often have a shorter shelf life than essential oils. Remember most essential oils should not be ingested, especially if undiluted, and many should be diluted even when applied topically as some essential oils are TOXIC.
With that being said, some oils are really dangerous to handle or have around the house at all. Many are banned from use in cosmetics or as flavorings. Some can be fatal if accidentally swallowed, and others can cause an immediate skin reaction. Those oils are produced because they have industrial uses, but have little to no medicinal, aromatherapy, flavoring, or other household value.
• 1 pound fresh figs = 9 medium
• 1 pound fresh figs = 12 small
• 1 pound fresh figs = 2-2/3 cups chopped
• 1 pound canned figs = 12 to 16 whole figs
• 1 pound dried figs = 44 whole figs
• 1 pound dried = 3 cups chopped
• Figs produce protein-digesting enzymes that break down muscle and connective tissue in meat, making them an excellent tenderizer as well as flavor-enhancer.
• When chopping dried figs by hand with knife or scissors, dip into warm water occasionally to prevent sticking.
• When chopping in a food processor, add some of the sugar called for in the recipe to prevent fruit from sticking.
• If dried figs seem hard or too dry, they can be soaked, steamed or poached to restore moisture.
• Dried figs can be used interchangeably with prunes, dried apricots, and dates in most recipes.
• To separate dried figs that are stuck together, pop them in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds.
- 5 cups peeled, halved fresh Figs (about 2-1/2 pounds)
- 2 teaspoons fresh Lemon Juice
- 3/4 cup Sugar
- 3 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground Nutmeg or Allspice
- 1 Tablespoon Butter
- 1 cup All-purpose Flour
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1/3 cup solid All-Vegetable Shortening
- 1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded Cheddar Cheese
- 2 Tablespoons Cold Water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Arrange figs evenly in a lightly greased 10 by 6 by 2-inch baking dish; sprinkle with lemon juice.
- Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg or allspice. Stir well and sprinkle over figs. Dot with butter.
- For the Cheddar pastry, combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Stir in Cheddar cheese. Sprinkle cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, evenly over surface. Stir with a fork until dry ingredients are moistened. Shape dough into a ball and chill 1 hour.
- Roll pastry out to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 10-inch by 1/2-inch strips. Arrange in a lattice pattern over figs. Trim edges.
- Bake 40 to 45 minutes.
Yield: 6 servings
- 2 (1-inch thick) slices peeled fresh Ginger
- 1 whole Cinnamon stick
- 4-1/2 pounds Sugar
- 1/4 cup fresh Lemon Juice
- 4 pounds firm ripe Figs, washed and peeled
- 2 Lemons, sliced and seeded
- Tie ginger and cinnamon stick in a cheesecloth bag. Set aside.
- Place sugar and lemon juice in a large non-reactive stockpot. Heat, adding just enough water to dissolve the sugar.
- Add spice bag, figs, and lemon slices. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer at a low boil about 45 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking.
- Remove and discard spice bag. Spoon hot fig preserves into hot, sterilized canning jars. Wipe rims clean and seal immediately with hot, sterilized lids.
- Process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes for half-pints or 10 minutes for pints.
Yield: 8 to 10 half-pints
- 1 cup chopped fresh Figs (may substitute 1/2 cup chopped dried figs)
- 1 cup Raisins
- 1-3/4 cups All-purpose Flour
- 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
- 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon fresh-grated Nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon Allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 cup solid Shortening (may substitute an equal amount of butter)
- 1 cup Brown Sugar, packed
- 2 Eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup Sour Cream
- 1/2 cup Milk
- 1 cup Powdered Confectioners’ Sugar
- Heavy Cream or Milk
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease a standard loaf pan.
- Cover figs and raisins with boiling water and let sit to plump for 15 minutes. Drain thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream shortening and brown sugar together until it resembles clumpy wet sand. Beat in eggs, sour cream, and milk.
- Add flour mixture, half at a time, to the wet ingredients. Blend until smooth and combined. Batter will be thick. Fold in figs and raisins by hand.
- Pour into prepared pan and bake about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool to room temperature before slicing to serve.
Cornish hens are stuffed with figs soaked in a portwine and an allspice marinade, then baked on a bed of salt. Cooking the poultry on a bed of salt produces a beautiful golden skin and does not impart much salt to the finished dish as you might think. It is a classic method. Plan ahead to marinate the figs in the port for 1 hour before beginning.
- 4 to 6 medium to large fresh figs
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 cup Port
- 4 1-pound poussin or Cornish hens, giblets removed and rinsed
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 cups rock salt or other salt
- Cut figs in quarters. In a small bowl mix allspice with Port wine. Put figs in a zip-lock bag, add marinade, close, shake back and forth a few times and marinate 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Put salt in a shallow roasting pan just large enough to hold all the Cornish hens without crowding.
- Loosen the skin of the hens and season with salt and pepper. Season cavity with salt and pepper and stuff with drained figs. (If using small hens, you may have a few figs left over. Do not over stuff the hens, however.) Brush the flesh of the hens with fig marinade and truss hens. Brush any remaining marinade over hens.
- Put hens in the oven 30 to 35 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees in the deep thigh of the hens. Remove, let rest 10 minutes, covered with foil. Untruss and serve.
Tips: Roasting poultry – from Cornish hens to turkeys – on rock salt (or other salt) minimizes grease splattering. Just scrape off any salt that may have attached to the bottom of the birds and discard the grease-soaked salt from the roasting pan.
- 4 quarts plus 2 cups water
- 2 Tablespoons baking soda
- 30 figs
- 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
- In large bowl, combine 4 quarts water and baking soda. Add fruit and soak 10 minutes. Drain.
- In large saucepan, combine sugar and 2 cups water. Bring syrup to a boil; add fruit and simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Simmer mixture 20 minutes each day until syrup is absorbed.
- Dry fruit on waxed paper on trays in the sun. Dredge fruit with sugar and store in an airtight container.
- 1 cup White Sugar
- 3 Eggs
- 7/8 cup All-purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/8 teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground Cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground Allspice
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 2 cups chopped dried Figs
- 1 cup chopped Walnuts
- 1 cup Confectioners’ Sugar for rolling
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch baking pan.
- In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until thick and pale. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, cloves, cinnamon and allspice; blend into the egg mixture along with the vanilla. Finally fold in the chopped figs and walnuts. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until lightly toasted. When cool, cut into squares and roll the squares in confectioners’ sugar.
- 1 pound Dried Figs
- 1 Orange, zested
- 1/2 cup Semi-sweet Chocolate hips
- 1/4 cup Whiskey
- 1/2 cup chopped Walnuts
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1/4 cup Maple Sugar
- Remove stems and gently wash figs.
- Chop in food processor in batches.
- In a non-stick pan, combine chopped figs with orange zest, chocolate chips, whiskey, walnuts, maple syrup, and cinnamon.
- Heat over medium heat until chocolate melts, stirring frequently.
- Cool completely.
- 100 grams dried figs
- 1/4 cup hot water
- manicotti or cannelloni or lasagna sheets
- 50 grams almonds or hazelnuts, ground
- mint leaves to garnish
- Cut the figs in small pieces and pour the hot water over them. Add the cinnamon and allow this to set for a while so the figs can become a pasty mass. Alternatively, you can buy the fig paste already made from European or Turkish grocery stores.
- Cook the lasagna sheet in boiling water. Remove them and cut it in half if it is a long sheet.
- Place a small amount of the fig mass along one edge of the lasagna sheet and roll the sheet to encompass the figs.
- Place the manicottis in the refrigerator until serving.
- Serve chilled, with a sprinkling of ground nuts on the top and mint leaves at the side.
- Ficus Trees
- Pear Trees
- Pecan Trees
Figs grow on the Ficus tree (Ficus carica), which is a member of the Mulberry family.
Figs range dramatically in color and subtly in texture depending upon the variety, of which there are about 720.
Some of the most popular varieties are:
- Adriatic: the variety most often used to make fig bars, which has a light green skin and pink-tan flesh
- Black Mission: blackish-purple skin and pink colored flesh
- Brown Turkey: purple skin and red flesh
- Calimyrna: greenish-yellow skin and amber flesh
- Kadota: green skin and purplish flesh
Figs are lusciously sweet and feature a complex texture that combines the chewiness of their flesh, the smoothness of their skin, and the crunchiness of their seeds. Also, they are a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps to control blood pressure and are a great source of dietary fiber. Fiber and fiber-rich foods also may have a positive effect on weight management by helping to control hunger. Besides their potassium and fiber content, figs are also a good source of manganese and calcium.
Another neat thing is the leaves of the fig have repeatedly been shown to have antidiabetic properties and can actually reduce the amount of insulin needed by a person with diabetes who require insulin injections.
Some people report a sensitivity to fig sap. The reactions may show up as a skin rash or for some people, a soreness of the lips and gums after eating a lot of fresh figs. In rare cases, people have a more serious and different type of reaction to fig sap, anaphylactic shock. However, reactions if any, are generally mild. The main sensitivity is to sap of the stem of fig leaves and the leaves themselves. Sap in other shoots is also a problem. For people who react to latex… the unripe fruit may also cause a reaction. So it’s a good idea to wear protective gloves when you harvest the fruit, prune the trees or any other handling of the tree and to wash your hands and arms afterward. With that being said, before eating or cooking figs, wash them under cool water and then gently remove the stem and gently wipe dry.
Another concern is that figs contain measurable amounts of oxalates. When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems. For this reason, individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating figs.
How to know if the Figs are Ripe…
For unripe figs – color is a predictable deep green, firm, small and they stand up from the stem. Another hint to ripeness is the end of the fruit away from the stem is tightly closed. Don’t pick it now. It won’t ripen off the tree.
As ripening figs begin to plump out; the color changes, getting less green and more creamy or yellowish or dark purplish depending on the variety. It will give slightly to the touch and the fruit will begin to droop. But the detail of ripening you can notice up close: The end away from the stem begins to open like a little portal. The fig may even begin to ooze a tiny droplet of nectar from this opening.
Look for figs that have a rich, deep color and are plump and tender, but not mushy. Smelling figs can also give you clues into their freshness and taste. They should have a mildly sweet fragrance and should not smell sour, which is an indication that they may be spoiled.
Figs don’t ripen well after being picked, unlike other fruits. In fact, they don’t keep well unless dried, so for safety…
Once picked, ripe figs should be kept in the refrigerator to slow deterioration, where they will stay fresh for about 2 days. Since they have a delicate nature and can easily bruise, you should store them either arranged on a paper towel-lined plate or shallow container. They should be covered or wrapped in order to ensure that they do not dry out, get crushed or pick up odors from neighboring foods.
Figs can also be frozen whole, sliced or peeled in a sealed container for 10-12 months. Canned figs will be good for a year in your pantry. Opened canned remainders can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for a week. Dried figs can be stored in a sealed package at room temperature for a month. For longer storage, keep them in the refrigerator, 6 months to a year.
Fig Cooking Tips