No-Bake Energy Bites

Hip hip for no bake energy bites!

I’ll admit, a few years ago when I first posted this recipe, I had never even heard of no bake energy “bites”.  But now, after zillions of pageviews on this post, countless batches of them made in my kitchen, and more new variations of them popping up each day online, I think it’s safe to say that no bake energy bites are now officially a “thing”.

And I hope that they are deliciously here to stay.  Because I don’t know about you, but I love these little guys.

Ever since my friend Courtney first introduced me to them on a ski trip in Breckenridge a few years ago, this no bake energy bites recipe has been on regular rotation in my house.  And for someone who doesn’t dig recipe repeats or leftovers all that often, that’s saying something.  I make a big batch at least once a month, and love popping them as an easy breakfast, a quick snack, a pop of protein before a workout, or even occasionally as a sweet dessert.

I’ve also posted about five different variations of this recipe on the site, from Cranberry Pistachio to Almond Joy to Nutella to Trail Mix energy bites.  And I also have all sorts of tips from those who have questions about nutrition and ingredient substitutions.  So scroll on down for the recipe, and hopefully we can answer any or your questions too.  So that all the world can enjoy All The Energy Bites.  🙂

No-Bake Energy Bites -- quick and easy to make, naturally sweetened with honey, and SO delicious! Perfect for a quick breakfast, snack, or even a healthy dessert. Gluten-free / Vegan. | gimmesomeoven.com

I have to say that the original recipe for these No Bake Energy Bites is still my fav.  I originally just slightly adapted it from the blog Smashed Peas & Carrots, who came up with the brilliant idea for these all to begin.  The recipe calls for:

No-Bake Energy Bites -- quick and easy to make, naturally sweetened with honey, and SO delicious! Perfect for a quick breakfast, snack, or even a healthy dessert. Gluten-free / Vegan. | gimmesomeoven.com

To make the no bake energy bites, just stir all of those ingredients together until combined.  (Or if you get tired of using a spoon, just use your hands.  I do!)

No-Bake Energy Bites -- quick and easy to make, naturally sweetened with honey, and SO delicious! Perfect for a quick breakfast, snack, or even a healthy dessert. Gluten-free / Vegan. | gimmesomeoven.com

Once the mixture is combined, pop it in the fridge for 10-20 minutes so that it will harden slightly.  This will help make it easier to roll it into balls.

No-Bake Energy Bites -- quick and easy to make, naturally sweetened with honey, and SO delicious! Perfect for a quick breakfast, snack, or even a healthy dessert. Gluten-free / Vegan. | gimmesomeoven.com

Then once the mixture has cooled slightly, shape it however you please!  I like shaping mine into 1-inch balls.  But you can make yours smaller or larger.  Or if you’d rather, just press the mixture into a baking dish lined with parchment paper, and you can make energy bars instead.  Whatever sounds good to you!

The best thing about this recipe is that it is super flexible as well.  So if you are allergic to any of the ingredients, or if you are just looking for other substitution ideas, feel free to use:

  • Different (or no) chocolate: I generally use dark chocolate chips.  But you can also substitute in any other kinds of chips (butterscotch, milk chocolate, white chocolate, cinnamon chips, etc.).  Or if you are vegan, I recommend cacao nibs.  Or if you don’t dig chocolate, you can leave this part out all together.
  • Different nut butter: If you are allergic to peanuts, feel free to substitute in any other kinds of nut butter, like almond buttersunflower seed butter, cashew butter, or others.  (For a great tutorial on homemade nut butters, check out this great post from Tasty Yummies.)
  • Different sweetener: I really prefer honey in this recipe.  But agave also works and is vegan, and some readers have had success with alternative sweeteners too.

In general, if you start experimenting with different ingredients or leave some ingredients out entirely, the balance of the recipe may be a little “off”.  So if they get too dry, add a few more of the sticky ingredients like honey and/or peanut butter.   If they get too gooey, add in more oats.

The name of the game with this recipe is customization.  So feel free to give them a try and keep tweaking them to whatever specific combination tastes and feels good to you.  Cheers to more energy bites in our future!

This recipe contains affiliate links.

No-Bake Energy Bites -- quick and easy to make, naturally sweetened with honey, and SO delicious! Perfect for a quick breakfast, snack, or even a healthy dessert. Gluten-free / Vegan. | gimmesomeoven.com

No Bake Energy Bites

These delicious little no bake energy bites are the perfect healthy snack!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (dry) oatmeal (I used old-fashioned oats)
  • 2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or vegan chocolate chips)
  • 1/3 cup honey or agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.*
  2. Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like. (Mine were about 1″ in diameter.) Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.
  3. Makes about 20-25 balls.

*Prep time listed does not include time for the mixture to chill.  To speed up the chilling, I recommend spreading the mixture out on a baking sheet, then covering it with plastic wrap and refrigerating.

**We do not currently offer nutrition facts on this site, but if you would like an estimate, I recommend using My Fitness Pal.

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I’d love to see what you cook!

 

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Sesame and Vanilla (Nut Free) Energy Balls

Recipes / Sweet Treats / Sesame and Vanilla (Nut Free) Energy Balls

Sesame and Vanilla (Nut Free) Energy Balls

Sesame and Vanilla (Nut Free) Energy Balls

Serves 20
Prep:
10m
Total:
10m
Difficulty: Easy
  • 400g medjool dates
  • 50g pumpkin seeds
  • 50g sunflower seeds
  • 100g oats
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla powder
  • 4 teaspoons tahini
  • Pinch of salt
  • 60g sesame seeds

Start by pitting the dates, then add them to the food processor along with the pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, oats, vanilla powder, tahini and salt. Blend until everything has mixed together and formed a nice sticky dough.

Roll the mixture into 20 equal sized balls and roll each one in sesame seeds until totally covered.

Place the balls in the fridge for an hour to set, then store in an airtight container in the fridge.

How to make Saweeq (SATTU)

بِسْمِ اللهِ عَلَى نَفْسِي وَدِيْنِي بِسْمِ اللهِ عَلَى أَهْلِي وَمالِي وَوَلَدِي بِسْمِ اللهِ عَلَى مَا أَعْطَانِيَ الله, اللهُ اللهَ رَبِّي لا أُشْرِكُ بِهِ شَيْئاً اللهُ أَكْبَرُ اللهُ أَكْبَرُ اللهُ أَكْبَرُ وَأَعَزُّ وَأَجَلُُّّ وَأَعْظَمُ مِمَّا أَخَافُ وَأَحْذَرُ عَزَّ جَارُكَ وَجَلَّ ثَنَاؤُكَ وَلا إِلَه غَيْرُك اللهُمَّ إِنَّي أَعُوْذُ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِّ نَفْسِي وَمِن شَرِّ كُلِّ شَيْطَانٍ مَّرِيدٍ وَّمِنْ شَرِّ كُلِّ جَـبَّارٍ عَنِيْدٍ فَإِنْ تَوَلَّوْا فَقُلْ حَسْبِيَ اللَّهُ لا إِلـٰه إِلا هُوَ عَلَيْهِ توكلْتُ وهو ربُّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيْم إِنَّ وَلِيـِّيَ اللَّهُ الَّذِيْ نَزَّلَ الْكِتَابَ وَهُوَ يَتَوَلَّى الصَّالِحِيْنَ  

How to make Saweeq (SATTU) ?

 

Saweeq is the Arabic name for Barley’s roasted flour (whole with husk), which is called SATTU in Urdu. It is one of the important ingredients in many of Tibb-e-Nabawi’s blessed foods.

 

In India & Pakistan, some people prepare Sattu by combining Wheat, Barley & Chickpeas, but the patent SAWEEQ (Sattu) purely consists of Barley.

 

Saweeq is so easy to make, you will have to dry roast Barley grains (whole with husk) at low heat, while roasting, keep stirring the grains with a wooden spoon, otherwise grains at the bottom will over-burn.

 

In villages, Barley grains are dry-roasted in sand, it is the easiest method during which Barley grains burst like Pop-Corn & some sand particles may enter inside the husk, so you have to be very careful. When they cool down, you have to vigorously rub the grains with a cloth, so that all sand particles come out & then you need to sieve the roasted grains properly.

 

Dry-roasted Barley grains are then ground to obtain SAWEEQ (Sattu), which can be kept either as fine flour OR coarsely ground.

 

Roasting should be slow at low heat, so that both the husk & grain are cooked properly, at high temperature, husk will roast before the grain & you will never achieve perfect results.

 

To prepare Saweeq at your kitchen, another method is to bring WHOLE Barley flour (with husk) and dry-roast the flour at low heat for 45 ~ 60 minutes, stirring it continuously. Once the flour is properly roasted, it releases a pleasant smell & the color darkens slightly.

WHAT IS SATTU – HOW TO MAKE SATTU AND SATTU DRINK

 

SATTU; A REALLY REFRESHING DRINK WITH A DIFFERENCE

Along with skanjveen, tukh malanga and gond katira, sattu is a deliciously different drink which is a great thirst-quencher for sweltering summer days. It’s lemon barley water Pakistani-style. The recipe below is for fresh barley.

SATTU

Ingredients

100 gr barley seeds

To prepare the barley: –

Soak the barley overnight in water, then the next day, drain them and leave them to dry in the shade.

Heat a heavy-based pan over a low heat and add the dry barley seeds and dry fry them until they turn brown. Be careful not to let them burn.

Remove them from the heat and allow them to cool before grinding them to a fine powder.

You can store the powder in an airtight container until you are ready to use it.

Sattu Drink for 1 glass

1 tbsp sattu (prepared as above)

 

honey to taste

water

ice

Method

Mix the honey into the water well, addand sattu and mix together, add ice and serve.

 

Raw Honey Lemonade

Lemonade

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Raw Honey Lemonade
Yield – 8 cups

Using a blender to quickly emulsify the lemon and honey, enables the cook to preserve the beneficial enzymes and delicate nature of unpasteurized raw honey.

Ingredients:
1 cup raw honey
1 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
6 cups filtered water

Instructions:
In a blender, combine raw honey and lemon juice.  Blend on high for 30 seconds.  Add water to blender.  Pulse until combined.  Chill until service.  Serve over ice.

Barley, Smoked Paprika Red Potatoes, and Hard Boiled Egg

05.14.14

Barley, Smoked Paprika Red Potatoes, and Hard Boiled Egg
Barley, Smoked Paprika Red Potatoes, and Hard Boiled Egg
Barley, Smoked Paprika Red Potatoes, and Hard Boiled Egg
Barley, Smoked Paprika Red Potatoes, and Hard Boiled Egg
Barley, Smoked Paprika Red Potatoes, and Hard Boiled Egg
Barley, Smoked Paprika Red Potatoes, and Hard Boiled Egg
Barley, Smoked Paprika Red Potatoes, and Hard Boiled Egg
Barley, Smoked Paprika Red Potatoes, and Hard Boiled Egg

I get asked a lot what my go-to meals are and I usually stumble a bit because I don’t have the most elegant answer: “bowls,” I say, “Well, I don’t eat bowls but I often find myself tossing a bevy of random ingredients into one and calling it a meal.” Sometimes these bowls are filled with salad, other times with grain pilafs or fried rice. More often than not, however, my go-to meals sit somewhere in between those two (is there a name for this? If so, inquiring minds need to know!).

This dish definitely constitutes the in between. Not a salad (it could be fairly easily- just serve over spinach) and it’s not quite a pilaf because the grain is really just supplementary to the potatoes. However, it’s filling, rather easy to throw together, and super flavorful (I love smoked paprika for easy flavor.) During the fall this meal would be killer with sweet potatoes (so, tuck it away in a safe spot and come back to it!)

Barley, Smoked Paprika Red Potatoes, and Hard Boiled Egg
Author: Erin Alderson
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
  • Potatoes
  • 1 lb red potatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoon muscavado sugar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Everything Else
  • 2 cups cooked barley
  • 3-4 hard boiled eggs
  • 2 ounces blue cheese
  • 2-3 tablespoons minced scallions or chives
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400˚.
  2. Cut potatoes in bite-size cubes. In a large baking dish, add potatoes and minced garlic. Mince garlic and add to pan along with the heavy cream, paprika, sugar, salt, and turmeric. Using a spoon or your hands, toss everything together so that potatoes are coated.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes, stir, and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  4. Remove potatoes from oven and stir the barley into the hot pan. Divide into bowls and top with sliced hardboiled egg, blue cheese crumbles, and scallions.
Notes
Want to make it gluten-free and/or vegan? Use full-fat coconut milk in place of the heavy cream and change out the barley for your favorite gf grain (sorghum, millet, or quinoa I think would be lovely!)

Roasted Butternut Squash, Quinoa, and Arugula Salad

Roasted Butternut Squash, Quinoa, and Arugula

It’s meals like this that become comfort food for me. A slightly warm arugula salad with a mix of flavors that feels these like salad and more like a hearty meal. The feta softens and the pecans add a bit of crunch (without adding the traditional crouton). This is my perfect salad.

4.8 from 4 reviews
Roasted Butternut Squash, Quinoa, and Arugula
Author: Erin Alderson
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
  • 2 cups 1/4″ cubed butternut Squash
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup diced scallions
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup pecan pieces
  • 2-3 cups arugula
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425˚. Toss butternut squash with olive oil, black pepper, and sea salt. Spread into a single layer in a roasting pan or on a baking tray. Bake until butternut squash is tender and lightly browning, 30-35 minutes.
  2. Remove from oven and toss butternut squash with honey and scallions until butternut squash is coated. Add in quinoa and pecans and stir.
  3. In a large bowl, combine arugula with butternut squash mixture and feta. Drizzle with olive oil and toss everything together.
3.2.2807

 

Barley chocolate chip Cookies

10.18.14

Barley Chocolate Chip Cookies | Naturally Ella
Chocolate Chip Cookies with Barley Flour
Barley Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies
Barley Chocolate Chip Cookies

It would seem, as of recent, that there are things happening in my life that make me stop and say, “Ah, this is what it feels like to be an adult.” It’s usually silly things like not being able to eat those two bowls of ice cream (I try, so hard) or the realization that the cheap coach we have isn’t as comfortable as we once thought (I went to Crate and Barrel the other day, sat on one couch, and realized I’d been missing out). We’ve had some pretty major (adult) life rumblings happening in our house that I’ll hopefully be able to share soon (all good, just a bit chaotic) but in the meantime, with the fall temperatures finally hitting Northern California: I made cookies.

Over the next couple of months in honor of baking season, I’ll be sharing a few recipes from The Homemade Flour Cookbook as well as a few new ones using homemade flour. This cookie recipe is a favorite of mine primarily because it uses my favorite, soft chocolate chip cookie base and mixes in the unique barley taste. There are certain recipes I haven’t even attempted to use non-refined sugars in because I make them so rarely and in small quantities, I’m just fine with it so don’t think I’m saying these cookies are ‘healthy’ because of the alternative flour. I love the barley flour strictly for the taste (I’ve also been known to use Rye or Einkorn- all delicious and unique!)

One major note about this recipe, it can be kind of hard to tell when these cookies are done and I’ve often cooked them too long and ended up with crispy bottoms. Look for a nice golden hue over most the cookie with the edges set. If you pull them out of the oven and let them cool slightly only to find they aren’t done- pop them back in the oven and just check them so often (it will take the cookies a bit of time to get back a heat where they will continue to back, but it will work.)

5.0 from 1 reviews
Barley Chocolate Chip Cookies
Author: Erin Alderson
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup (168 g) butter, softened
  • 1 cup (192 g) loosely packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) organic cane sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups (360 g) barley flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (336 g) chocolate chips or dark chocolate chunks*
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375˚.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, beat together the butter with both sugars until blended and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla extract, baking powder, salt, and baking soda, and continue to beat until everything is well incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Add the flour and mix on low speed until the dough comes together and everything is well incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape down the side of the bowl again if necessary. Stir in the chocolate chunks.
  4. Scoop the cookies onto baking sheets using an ice cream scoop or spoon, using 2 to 3 tablespoons of dough. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand and bake for 12 minutes, or until the edges are lightly brown; the centers will not be set but will continue to set as they cool. Let cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.
Notes
*The original recipe calls for chopped dark chocolate, which is also delicious. You could also try add a handful of chopped nuts such as pecans or walnuts.

*Types of baking sheets may change the bake time of the cookies. If using a darker baking sheet, watch cookies closely at around 100 minutes. If using a silicone baking mate, like a Silpat, cookies may need longer to bake, more towards 15 minutes.

Pumpkin Cashew Soup Recipe

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Figs Nutrition: Anticancer, Fiber-Rich & Antibacterial

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Figs nutrition - Dr. Axe

You probably associate figs with the extremely popular fig newton, which if we’re being perfectly honest is not the healthiest of options. But while I don’t recommend eating those packaged fig goodies, figs nutrition actually has an insane amount of health benefits.

Of course, when I say figs nutrition, I mean the fruit superstar. Figs have a long, interesting past and a number of great health benefits. So what makes figs nutrition so valuable, why should you include them in your diet and what type of fig recipes are out there? Let’s take a look.


Figs Nutrition Facts

Common figs grow on the ficus tree (ficus carica), which is a member of the mulberry family. Originally from Western Asia and the Middle East, they’re now grown in temperate climates around the world.

Figs can be consumed either raw or dried, which affects the nutritional value. Thus, 100 grams of raw figs contains about: (1)

  • 74 calories
  • 19 grams carbohydrates
  • 0.7 grams protein
  • 0.3 grams fat
  • 3 grams fiber
  • 232 milligrams potassium (7 percent DV)
  • o.1 milligram manganese (6 percent DV)
  • 4.7 micrograms vitamin K (6 percent DV)
  • 0.1 milligram vitamin B6 (6 percent DV)
  • 17 milligrams magnesium (4 percent DV)
  • 35 milligrams calcium (4 percent DV)
  • 0.1 milligram thiamine (4 percent DV)
  • 142 IU vitamin A (3 percent DV)
  • 2 milligrams vitamin C (3 percent DV)
Figs nutrition facts - Dr. Axe

When dried, the health benefits of figs increase — thus, 100 grams of dried figs contain about: (2)

  • 249 calories
  • 63.9 grams carbohydrates
  • 3.3 grams protein
  • 0.9 gram fat
  • 9.8 grams fiber
  • 0.5 milligram manganese (26 percent DV)
  • 15.6 micrograms vitamin K (19 percent DV)
  • 680 milligrams potassium (19 percent DV)
  • 68 milligrams magnesium (17 percent DV)
  • 162 milligrams calcium (16 percent DV)
  • 0.3 milligrams copper (14 percent DV)
  • 2 milligrams iron (11 percent DV)
  • 67 milligrams phosphorus (7 percent DV)
  • 0.1 milligrams vitamin B6 (6 percent DV)
  • 0.1 milligrams thiamine (6 percent DV)
  • 0.1 mg riboflavin (5 percent DV)
  • 0.5 milligram zinc (4 percent DV)

Health Benefits of Figs Nutrition

Figs contain many vitamins and minerals hat provide health benefits to a number of bodily systems. They’re an easy, healthy snack and can be added to many meals to for another boost of nutrients.

Some of the biggest health benefits of figs include:

1. Powerful Antioxidant

Figs provide a huge service to the human body with their antioxidant capabilities. Because oxidation affects almost all body systems, the damage it causes has been linked to many major diseases, aging and cancer — as high-antioxidant foods, figs help stave off these conditions. (3)

Some types of figs have more than others, but most are rich in polyphenols, which help combat oxidative stress. (4, 5) These natural health boosters are located in the fruit, leaves, pulp and skin. (6) Studies also show that properly dried figs can be an even better source of phenolic compounds and have increased levels of antioxidant activity than their raw or improperly dried counterparts. (7) This is probably why figs were revered throughout history; easily stored, dried figs could provide incredible health benefits for long voyages and dry climates that prevented access to fresh fruit.

2. Anticancer

Figs have a reputation in traditional medicine as a remedy for many health problems, including as a natural cancer treatment. For instance, a study by the Department of Natural Medicinal Chemistry at China Pharmaceutical University shows that some elements contained in figs are toxic to various human cancer cell lines. (8)

Although there is more research needed, there are recommendations encouraging researchers to find out more about how figs’ bioactive compounds can combat illness because of the success of numerous findings thus far. (9)

3. Treat Common Illnesses

Because of the fig’s long history, it has been used to treat a wide range of common ailments for thousands of years. More than 40 illnesses connected to the digestive, endocrine, reproductive and respiratory systems have been treated with fig fruit, extracts and components of the fig tree.

Studies have shown figs to be a good source of treatment for anemia, cancer, diabetes, leprosy, liver disease, paralysis, skin diseases, ulcers, gastrointestinal tract and urinary tract infections, and more. (10) Figs and the fig tree are considered promising candidates for helping develop new drugs as well, and researchers hope to continue finding new medicinal uses for the plant.

4. Antibacterial and Antifungal

Figs can act as a natural antibacterial and antifungal agent. A review by the Drug and Herbal Research Centre at the Universiti Kebangsaan in Malaysia cited two studies that showed fig extract’s ability to combat a strand of oral bacteria, as well as various fungi and microbes. (11)

There are also studies done in grass carp that shows effectiveness in figs’ ability to stimulate immune system response, thus making figs tremendous immune system boosters. (12) This may explain why figs are such great common illness fighters, which are typically the work of bacteria and other invaders.

5. Great Source of Potassium, Fiber and Other Depleted Nutrients 

Potassium and fiber are two vital components to a healthy diet that many Westerners simply don’t get enough of. Figs are a high-fiber food whether raw or dried, while they also provide anywhere from 7 percent to 19 percent of your daily potassium intake depending on how they’re prepared — thus, eating figs helps overcome low potassium levels.

Fiber helps aid the digestive system, reduces the risk of heart disease and helps with weight loss by helping you feel full. Potassium is found in every cell in the body and is essential to maintain normal body functions. Dried figs are also great sources of manganese, magnesium and calcium, all of which also don’t appear in our diets as much as they should. Snacking on figs is a low-calorie way to up your intake of these essential nutrients.

 

Figs nutrition and fig leaves benefits - Dr. Axe

 


Health Benefits of Fig Leaves

If you are lucky enough to have access to a fig tree, the leaves of the trees are also incredibly valuable to your health, mostly due to their antioxidant abilities. The leaves can be dried and made into teas or extracts, which is very common in areas of the world with substantial fig tree growth.

1. Antidiabetic

Preliminary studies show reduction of glucose in the blood of rats when given an extract made from fig tree leaves. Further results from the the studies show there was also a decline in the levels of cholesterol, as well as help normalizing antioxidant activity to help combat oxidative stress caused by diabetes. (13, 14)

Fig fruit has also been proven as a powerful treatment for the side effects of diabetes. With anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities, figs are able to normalize many bodily functions sometimes damaged by diabetes, making them a potential diabetes natural remedy. (15)

2. Help Treat Skin Cancer

Fig leaves are great providers of bioactive compounds that are great at fighting free radical damage. (16) As a result, some studies have used information about the makeup of the fig leaf to develop better forms of photodynamic therapy to treat certain types of skin cancer. (17)

3. Anti-Wrinkle Capabilities

There have been multiple studies using fig tree leaf extract (combined with other fruits and alone) that have shown successful examples of anti-wrinkle capabilities. Individuals using creams including fig leaf and fig fruit extracts showed significant decrease in length and depth of facial wrinkles, thanks to antioxidant and anti-collagenase activity. (18)

Another study published in the Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences even concluded that creams containing fig extract could also be used to help hyper pigmentation, acne and even freckles. (19)


Interesting Facts About Figs

Figs are actually developed from inverted flowers called a syconium. The fig flesh is made from the matured flowers, which bloom inside the skin and are therefore never seen. Wild fig trees can survive up to 100 years and can grow as high as 100 feet.

Fig tree leaves release a pleasant, woodsy-green fragrance. Some people dry the leaves and use them in perfume or in potpourri for their homes.  Fig trees produce a natural latex sap that is also used for a number of practical and medicinal purposes.

Figs were so popular among the Greeks that there were even laws made to prevent exportation, and they’re an essential element in the Mediterranean diet, which is one of the healthiest diets in the world. Aside from being an incredible source of dietary fiber, this curious fruit is delicious and filled with a number of essential vitamins and minerals.

Figs have a history as rich as their taste. Dating back as far as 5,000 B.C., the fig is said to be one of the first plants ever cultivated by humans. Archeological findings in Neolithic villages revealed fossils of figs, predating other known forms of agriculture like wheat and barley. Figs are mentioned often in the Bible, as they were cultivated in many areas of the world where biblical events took place. In fact, some believe that in the story of Adam and Eve, the forbidden fruit may in fact be a fig instead of an apple. They’re sometimes represented as a sign of peace, abundance and prosperity.

Figs are known for their sweet and juicy flesh, tender skin and crunchy seeds. They’re highly perishable and are commonly dried to preserve them. And unlike many other fruits and vegetables, studies have shown that the health benefits of figs actually increase after drying. They can be prepared in a number of ways and make a great pairing with meats and cheeses.


How to Purchase and Prepare Figs

Figs can be found at most major grocery stores. Prime harvesting is mid-June to mid-October, with ripe figs only lasting seven to 10 days from when they’re picked.

Choose figs that have a rich color and are tender but not mushy. Once you bring the fruit home, Whole Foods Markets recommends storing figs outside of the container you purchased them in and in a small bowl in the refrigerator. (20) They will only store for a few days before going bad, similar to an avocado.

Drying figs can extend their shelf life and provide healthy snacks on the go. When properly stored, dried figs can last 18 to 24 months.

You can oven-dry figs following these steps: (21)

  1. Preheat oven to 140 degrees F (or lowest setting with the oven door open).
  2. Wash figs thoroughly with water. Dry.
  3. Cut the figs in half from stem to tip.
  4. Lay figs cut side up on a well-ventilated rack.
  5. Place figs in the oven, turning occasionally through drying process.
  6. Let figs dry for 8–24 hours, until the outsides are leathery and no juice can be seen on the inside.

Figs are commonly made into jams and preserves to allow them to keep longer. You can also freeze figs within 12 hours of harvesting to extend their freshness.


Fig Recipes

There are many fig recipes you can try. Here are a few of my favorites:


Potential Side Effects of Figs

People with skin and allergies to mulberry, natural rubber latex or weeping fig could have potential reactions to fig tree components, such as the fruit and leaves. If you’re harvesting the fruit directly from the tree, it’s best to wear long sleeves and gloves.

People with diabetes should be cautious when consuming or using figs medicinally, as they have effects on glucose levels in the blood. This also goes for those on diabetes medication and insulin, as figs can alter their effectiveness. As always, speak with a doctor before using figs medicinally or as a supplement.


Figs Nutrition Takeaways

  • Figs nutrition can be boosted by drying the figs.
  • Figs provide powerful antioxidants, help fight cancer, treat common illnesses, contain antibacterial and antifungal properties, and provide potassium, fiber and other depleted nutrients.
  • Fig leaves are antidiabetic, help treat skin cancer and have anti-wrinkle capabilities.
  • Figs only last seven to 10 days after they’re picked, but you can dry figs to extend their shelf life and boost some of their nutrients.
  • Figs make a great addition to many recipes and are also a tremendous, healthy snack.