Believed to be the first plants domesticated by humans, fresh figs offer fiber, vitamin B6, potassium, and vitamin K, plus a sweet taste and a texture trifecta: smooth skin, chewy flesh, and crunchy seeds. Choose sweet-smelling, deeply colored, plump, and tender (not mushy) figs. They’re delicate and perishable, so use figs within a day or two; they work especially well as easy finger foods.

Spread. In a food processor, blend chopped, fresh figs with goat cheese, fresh thyme, and a touch of honey. Serve with seeded crackers.

Appetizers.  Make a slit in each fig, scoop out a little pulp, and stuff withchopped walnuts. Wrap with thinly sliced prosciutto, and spear with a toothpick. Even quicker: Top toasted baguette slices with crumbled Gorgonzola cheese and halved figs.

Sandwich.  Lightly sear fig slices in coconut oil; toss with minced rosemary and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Tuck into grilled cheese sandwiches.

Quinoa-Fig Pudding

Similar to rice pudding, this comforting dessert is delicious with whipped or sweet cream; or try it for breakfast, topped with yogurt. Butter a 1 1/2-quart baking dish and coat with 1/4 cup ground nuts. Cream 2 tablespoons butter with 1/2 cup maple or cane sugar. Stir in 2 large beaten eggs, 2 cups milk, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and a pinch of sea salt.

Mix in 2 cups cooked quinoa, 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh or dried figs, and 1/2 cup finely chopped toasted hazelnuts. Pour into dish and top with a little grated nutmeg. Bake at 350˚ for 40–50 minutes, until just barely set. Cool 10 minutes before serving. Serves 8.

PER SERVING: 367 cal, 13g fat (7g mono, 3g poly, 2g sat), 52mg chol, 12g protein, 52g carb, 5g fiber, 62mg sodium