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    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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    A Look Back.



First Foods: Fresh Figs.

Ever since the early days of my pregnancy, I have been excited to bring my love of healthy cooking to my new role as a parent.  But before you click away – my plan is to introduce a series on foods that are great first foods for babies and kids.  But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t also great foods for YOU!  My hope is to spotlight some things you might not be as familiar with, as well as offer new ideas and preparations for foods that you already love.

First Foods:  Fresh Figs by Daily Garnish

With all the summer hype about berries, melons, peaches, and plums – it’s easy to overlook one of summer’s best fruits: fresh figs!  Typically in season from June to September, figs are soft and sweet and highly nutritious.

First Foods:  Fresh Figs by Daily Garnish

In addition to being delicious, figs are also a great source of the following (source):

  • potassium
  • dietary fiber
  • calcium
  • antioxidants
  • vitamin B6

When most people think of figs, they probably think of the Fig Newton.  Dried figs are sugary sweet – almost like candy, and still hold many of the same nutritional properties.  Dried figs are actually the #1 fruit source of calcium! (source

But with such concentrated sugars, they needed to be eaten in more moderation.  And while I’m not going to deny that those gooey cookies are irresistible, there are definitely other ways to enjoy this simple fruit.  For adults, the options are endless: 

  • sliced and added to a salad
  • diced and stirred into oatmeal
  • roasted and drizzled with honey
  • grilled and served over ice cream
  • poached and made into chutney

When I spent the summer working on the farm, the farmers use to bring huge boxes of fresh figs in the kitchen each week.  We couldn’t cook or eat them fast enough!  Roasting figs for dessert was my favorite way to prepare them, but really, they are tasty just about any way you slice them.

For babies, it couldn’t be more simple. 

First Foods:  Fresh Figs by Daily Garnish

Figs are the perfect soft consistency that, when ripe, they need almost zero prep before hitting the high chair.  I just trim off the ends and peel the outer skin off, before roughly dicing up the soft flesh inside.  It’s not totally necessary to remove the outer skin – it’s definitely edible – but the skin may be a little rough on those tiny digestive systems.

First Foods:  Fresh Figs by Daily Garnish

Figs tend to ripen and be ready almost immediately, and once they are ripe the window for eating them is very short.  In order to minimize the prep, I go ahead and peel and dice all of them at once – saves me time on subsequent mornings.  I add all the diced figs to a jar and store in the fridge – usually lasts for a few breakfasts.  When perfectly ripe, the fruit is almost goopy it’s so soft.

First Foods:  Fresh Figs by Daily Garnish

If your little one isn’t into finger foods just yet, another option is to puree the figs and add to cereals or combine with other fruits.  The natural sweetness is a hit for those developing palates, and is easy to prepare with no need for cooking or steaming.

First Foods:  Fresh Figs by Daily Garnish

As parents, I think we tend to err on the safe (and boring) side of what to offer our kids. My hope is to offer Cullen a good variety now, and hope that he grows up appreciating diversity in his diet.  If you’re looking to break out of the rut of apples and bananas, I definitely suggest you give figs a try.  They only negative?  When eaten with slobbery fingers, they tend to be a bit of a MESS.

First Foods:  Fresh Figs by Daily Garnish

But for being so nutritionally rich and easy to prepare, I’d say the extra cleanup is well worth it.

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50 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Kelly     at 10:44 am

I love figs!! My favorite way to eat them is to split them in half and smear some almond butter on them and go to town. So tasty!!

As a side note…I think children respond well to being introduced to lots of foods. My parents exposed me and my brother to a WIDE variety of foods and as adults he and I both have very broad palates and neither of us is picky. Maybe it’s a coincidence but I still credit them with it! :)

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Kimberly @ Healthy Strides     at 11:01 am

My 1-year-old has decided he hates fruit but I might have to try this. He loves FLAVOR (Indian food, chili) and something new might help. Thanks!

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Erica     at 11:02 am

I can’t believe I’m about to admit this but … I’ve never had a fig before! You’ve totally convinced me to try one!

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Leah Reply:

If you can’t get the fresh figs near you try the dried ones. Trader Joe’s has a great selection!

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Elisabeth Reply:

You’re not alone! I’ve never had a fresh fig either. I’ve had dried ones or had them in cookies or bars, but I’ve never even seen them available to buy at any market or grocery.

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Jessica     at 11:02 am

I dont think I have ever tried a fresh fig! I live in a little town in Iowa and our grocery store produce is slim pickins :( I will look for them for sure, though!

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Andrea Hood     at 11:11 am

I’ve actually never had a fig before…. Now I HAVE to try them! Never knew they were so good for you and that they were so sweet. Thanks for the info!!

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Kaelin     at 11:14 am

I am guilty as charged…. the only figs in my life have been of the Newton variety. But I am soo happy that you shared more about these fruits and I will definitely keep my eye out for them in the produce isle! Thank you!!

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Morgan @ moments of mmm     at 11:16 am

I love how you point out “As parents, I think we tend to err on the safe (and boring) side of what to offer our kids.” While I am not a parent myself, I see this with my friends all the time. They tend to think children will only like what is familiar. But unless you introduce them to new things, their palates will remain undeveloped! Loved this post :)

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Tiffany     at 11:23 am

Figs are delicious!!!! Love them!

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Gina     at 11:26 am

I love fig season! I just went through a huge container, adding to salads and yogurt. I agree, the best is to roast…and serve with honey and goat cheese or as a crostini! Yum:)

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Katy @MonsterProof     at 11:28 am

I’ve actually never had a fig (unless you count newtons), so I’ll have to try to find them. BUT, I am proud to say my son has been exposed to what some people think are bizarre foods. 2 of the first 5 foods he tried were pumpkin and parsnips, and people thought I was crazy!

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Laura @FoodSnobSTL     at 11:31 am

I love figs, but never thought about feeding them to our baby. Great idea!

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Leah     at 11:40 am

Variety is the spice of (baby’s) life!

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Melissa @ HerGreenLife     at 12:05 pm

I tend to leave the skin on and just limit the serving size for my little guy. I’d rather he get used to eating fruit with the skin on — easier for me and more nutrients for him.

I try to buy mostly organic-practices (no-spray) produce, but if I have fruit that’s been sprayed, I will cut the skin off, since that’s where chemicals would be concentrated.

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Christy Grubbs     at 12:17 pm

Great idea for first foods! My 10 month old daughter is loving finger foods too! Would you do a post about how you prep and store your fruits and veggies for Cullen?

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Heather (Heather's Dish)     at 12:21 pm

even though wes isn’t doing solids right now i am really excited about this new little series! as for figs, i’ve never actually had them myself but i’m thinking i’ll be at the store later to buy some. the roasting and drizzling with honey sounds particularly amazing right now!

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Elly     at 1:01 pm

OH yum, I love fresh figs! They are delicious with a dollop of greek yoghurt and a sprinkling of chopped nuts too. I’m lucky enough to live in an area where I can get them locally grown during the summer months. It always amazes me how many people I meet who either a) have never tried fresh figs and b) don’t like fresh figs! I think it’s because our supermarkets here (in Australia) only ever have under ripe, dry, tasteless figs.

Glad to see Cullen is branching out in his eating – he really is adorable!

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Hallie @ChasingHallie     at 1:14 pm

Thanks for this! We have been doing lots of cantaloupe and nectarines…definitely going to add figs to the mix!

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purelymichelle     at 1:20 pm

I have been eating pounds and pounds of fresh figs, Love them!!

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Kristen @ Change of Pace     at 1:20 pm

I have never had a fresh fig! That is so crazy…. I’ll have to grab some next time I’m at the store!

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Kari     at 1:23 pm

Love this idea. My little one is a week younger than Cullen. She is in daycare during the week, and I have to bring her food. I have such a hard time knowing what to bring that’s fresh, easy to prepare, and won’t freak out the daycare providers as a choking hazard. I think I may just pick up some figs this week!

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Lena     at 1:37 pm

Figs are my most favourite fruit!!! My in laws have a tree in their backyard back in Australia and I would spend the 3 months prior to harvest season asking how are the figs going? When will they be ready? How is the tree going? I also leave the skin on and eat them whole, I would think most of the fibre is in the skin. My mother in law grow up on the island of Rhodes in Greece and would spend her summers eating figs all day long as she had hundreds of them around her house. I could only dream about that now :)

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jen     at 2:05 pm

Emily, your son is so beautiful. Every time I visit your site I’m more excited about seeing pictures of him than getting a new recipe! The picture of him eating figs today is no exception, plus now I want some fresh figs!

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Nina     at 2:28 pm

Awesome, i love figs! Just fyi, i think you mean dried figs are the #1 fruit choice for calcium!

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Nan     at 2:34 pm

Last year i baked a ‘figgy’ pudding for my grandson to take to school. He said the kids just loved it! I wish I had some fresh figs now and I would make another one. This was similar to plum pudding which is basically a steamed fruitcake.

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Army Amy*     at 2:48 pm

I did not realize figs have so much calcium. Interesting. And it looks like Cullen gives the figs a rave review!*

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Jenny B     at 3:32 pm

Hi, Emily … I’ve been following your blog for quite a while now and i just wanted you to know that i love hearing all about all the new things you have to discuss now that little Culen is in the picture! I dont have kids or anything but i still enjoy these posts.

I’ll have to keep my eyes out for fresh figs! I haven’t seen them in my grocery store, but then again i actually looked. Thanks for the idea :)

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Rachel     at 3:55 pm

I try and eat a variety of fruits and veggies, and I’m always trying new things…sometimes for the better (yay chestnuts!) sometimes for the bad (boo guava!), but I don’t think I’ve ever had a fig, besides a Fig Newton. I’m going to have to be on the look out for some fresh figs!

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Angela @ Happy Fit Mama     at 4:16 pm

I tried figs for the first time with my kids when they were around 9 months. We ALL loved ‘em and they have become a staple during their short season. I also buy unsweetened dried figs from my health food store during the off season to tide us over. So good!

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Alison     at 4:46 pm

OMG I have recently discovered my obsession for dried figs! I have yet to try fresh ones but some day I will!

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Jessica @ New Girl, New City     at 5:04 pm

I’ve loved figs ever since I was little like Cullen. My great grandparents had a fig tree and we’d pick them off fresh and eat them! So good!

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Michelle Mielke     at 5:48 pm

Figs have never ever in all my life crossed my mind! Thanks for waking me up to a new adventure.

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Danica @ It's Progression     at 6:02 pm

I’ve actually never had a fig! Where exactly can I find them? (I live in MN)…love this new series!

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Alexis S.     at 6:26 pm

I tried figs for the very first time last year! I love them, they’re so tasty. This series is great, I think you’re right, it’s easy to err on the safe side when trying to figure out what to feed your little ones.

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luv what you do     at 6:59 pm

That last pictures is priceless! I had no idea that figs were such a good source of calcium. I discovered them last summer, and they really are awesome! On the dried front, I’m slightly obsessed with these date fig bars!
http://luvwhatyoudo.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/fig-date-nut-energy-bars/

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Jennifer     at 8:11 pm

Figs=my favorite fruit! My grandmother used to have a white fig tree in her backyard that would produce figs the size of small pears. Heavenly.

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emily     at 8:18 pm

I have not yet given fresh figs to my little guy…he’s almost 15 months. I think because i was/am intimidated by them; didn’t know how to prep. Thanks for the push…gonna do it (and add some to my oatmeal!)

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Jillian     at 8:51 pm

Re: the talk about kid’s “palates remaining undeveloped”, does anyone know if there is evidence that this actually happens and extends into adulthood, or is it something people assume? I’m just wondering because of my own experiences and friends- I live in Seattle, and most of my friends here happen to be from families who ate McDonalds and the typical S.A.D. while growing up (I’m from a very stereotypical Midwestern family, and most of my friends are not from the west coast, either), yet none of us are picky and have been eating a wide variety of foods since we were teenagers and outside of our family units. The one “picky” friend I have grew up all over the place- Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.S. Anyhow, just curious to see if anyone has some insight to share about this ;)

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Maya     at 11:00 pm

I love fresh figs! They’re in season right now in Israel and are about a two dollars a pound… which I was avoiding because they’re more expensive than the other in-season fruit (mangoes, anyone) but I guess is probably pretty cheap! I think you’ve convinced me to head out to our local greengrocers and get a pack. :) Nitsah loves holding the whole fig in her hand and eating it… it’s a bit messy but I’ve even begged a fig off off street vendors, rinsed it off with my water bottle, and let her devour it while we’re in public. I figure better that than letting her steal my icecream. ;)

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Maya     at 11:05 pm

P.S. Skins contain cancer-fighting antioxidants, and figs are the perfect size and texture for baby hands, plus there’s no pit to worry about… I really suggest you try letting your little guy eat one whole! I think eating foods in different ways is also a great way for kids to explore the world.

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Amanda V     at 6:23 am

I haven’t quite recovered from fig overload when I was in Ecuador.. but.. maybe one day I will give them another try.

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Marissa@ohhhsolovely     at 8:01 am

this is pretty interesting info as i’m trying to learn all i can before i have a little one! we love, love, love fresh figs & have several friends/relatives with trees. we’ve been eating them like crazy this summer & i think we’re planting our own fig tree very soon!

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Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama}     at 10:08 am

I have never tried a fresh fig, but you’ve definitely convinced me to not only try them for myself but add them into my preschooler and baby’s menus! :-)

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Mathilda     at 11:59 pm

If possible, I never peel them, the skin adds a terrific and stronger taste to the fruit, dont’t you think ?

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Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction     at 9:30 am

Figs are by far my favorite fruit! I wish they were always in season!

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Gabrielle     at 10:47 am

I love that you’re feeding Cullen such a variety of fresh and healthy foods, and that he’s feeding himself! Really impressive. Maybe he’ll grow up to be a chef. :)

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Elizabeth Ruh     at 5:58 pm

Check out boogie wipes to help with the anti nose wiping phase. They are basically like wipes for diapers only with saline. One swipe pretty much takes care of it!

Looking forward to browsing your blog. I’ve been a vegetarian for almost ten years. Now I have two kids under two! My husband is a meat eater so we will eventually have to feed the kids both but since he rarely cook I doubt we will see much of it. :)

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

LOVE boogie wipes! I have them stashed all over the house. :)

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MommyPage     at 3:35 pm

Those look amazing. It’s rare to see figs at the grocery store but I see them at the farmer’s market. I love trying it!

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