Boost fiber intake with bran and figs

Boost fiber intake with bran and figs – includes recipes and related information about figs

Nancy Saltmarsh

Boost Fiber Intake With Bran and Figs

Make high-fiber dining a temptation, not a chore. The trio of recipes provided below call for a generous dose of either mellow, highly versatile Jarlsberg cheese or crisp-bread, both gifts from the Norwegians, who are famous for their robust vigor.

Fiber-rich muffins accented with apple, owe their enticing aroma to a blend of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Jarlsberg Casserole, fortified with both whole-wheat flour and rice bran, is a breeze, and delicate, nutty cheese adds a flavor all its own that keeps this dense, crusty bread moist.

Luscious Individual Cheese and Spinach Pies with a whole-wheat base are relatively low in both calories and fat, since Jarlsberg is a part-skim milk cheese.

Fiber-Rich Muffins

1 inside package of rye-bran


1 cup skim milk

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 egg

2 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Tbsp molasses

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cloves

1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt substitute

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 1/4 cups oat flour

Preheat oven to 400 [degrees]. Break crispbread into chunks; process in food processor or electric blender until finely crushed. Put into mixing bowl. Heat milk almost to boiling. Pour over breadcrumbs. Stir to mix. Set aside for 5 minutes. Stir applesauce and lightly beaten egg into crumb mixture. Break up larger lumps if present. Add sugar, molasses, oil, spices and salt substitute. On a piece of waxed paper, mix baking powder and flour. Pour into mixing bowl and stir until flour is just blended into batter. Fill greased muffin pans half full. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until browned. Remove from pans and cool slightly before serving. Makes 12 muffins.

Jarlsberg Casserole Bread

1 1/4 cups warm water

1 Tbsp raw, natural sugar

1 package active dry yeast

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp salt substitute

1 tsp thyme

1 1/2 cups rice bran 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour

1 cup (4 oz) shredded

Jarlsberg cheese

1 Tbsp corn meal

1 Tbsp skim milk

1 Tbsp wheat germ

Pour water into large mixing bowl. Stir in sugar and yeast. Set aside a few minutes, until mixture becomes foamy. Mix in oil, salt substitute and thyme. With electric mixer at low speed, blend rice bran into yeast mixture, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Increase speed to medium. Continue beating for 3 minutes. Stir in whole-wheat flour with a wooden spoon, then mix in Jarlsberg cheese. Cover top of bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until double in volume, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375 [degrees], 350 [degrees] if using glass pie plate. Stir down dough with a few strokes of a wooden spoon. Grease a 9-inch or 10-inch pie plate; sprinkle with 1 Tbsp of cornmeal. Pour in dough; smooth top with floured hands. Cover lightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until double in volume, about 45 minutes. Test for baking readiness by pressing one finger lightly into bread. If the finger mark stays and does not spring back, the bread is ready to bake. Brush top with skimmed milk and sprinkle with wheat germ. Bake for about 45 minutes until browned, and bread sounds hollow when tapped with finger. Remove from pan. Cool on wire rack. Cut into wedges for serving. Makes 24 slices.

Individual Cheese and Spinach Pies

6 slices thin-cut whole-wheat


1 1/2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp chopped onion

1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch

1 cup skimmed milk

1/2 tsp dry mustard

1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Dash salt substitute

1 package frozen chopped

spinach, defrosted and


1 egg

1 cup (4 oz) Jarlsberg cheese,


Preheat oven to 375 [degrees]. Shred bread in food processor or electric blender. Melt 1 Tbsp butter; drizzle over bread crumbs. Process to mix. Divide mixture between 4 greased individual souffle dishes or ramekins. Press into bottom and 1 inch up sides. Bake 10 minutes. Cool slightly. Melt remaining half tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add onion and saute about 5 minutes or until translucent but not brown. Remove from heat. Dissolve cornstarch in milk; stir into onion. Return to heat and stir constantly, until mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Cool slightly. Add mustard, Worcestershire sauce and salt. Squeeze as much moisture as possible out of spinach. Stir into sauce. Mix in a slightly beaten egg and cheese. Divide among prepared dishes. Bake 20 minutes or until tops are slightly browned and puffed.

Fabulous Figs

A great addition to any meal, or a super snack by themselves, figs are one of the most nutritious fruits available — and they’re loaded with fiber.

For instance, less than three ounces of figs provides as much fiber and calcium as half a grapefruit, orange or peach, as well as B vitamins, protein and many trace minerals.

In fact, figs have the one of the highest dietary fiber contents of the common fruits, nuts and vegetables, a substantial amount of potassium and, on an equal weight basis, have a higher calcium content than whole cow’s milk.

Figs also have a plant protein content nearly twice as high as that of other dried fruits, and more than ten times that of most fresh fruits. One of the few alkaline foods, figs are considered beneficial in balancing body alkalinity.

As an added benefit, figs are lower in calories per gram of dietary fiber than other popular fruits, and even lower than nearly all the highly-promoted commercial bran cereals. In fact, researchers say figs are more than 40 percent higher in dietary fiber than some commercial cereals.

Now, in addition to traditional fresh or dried figs eaten out of hand or used in cooking, figs come in a variety of forms to expand the ways they’re used.

Consumers can now buy seedless fig paste, the perfect ingredient to mix with any of a wide variety of more expensive fruits and fruit pastes. They can also buy fig concentrate, for making reconstituted fig juice drinks or for use as a sugar substitute (replacing sucrose, corn syrup and other sweeteners). You can also buy fig juice.

Try this delicious suggestion for a breakfast treat: slice three figs into a glass bowl, add 3 tablespoons wheat or oat cereal and 3/4 cup of water. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Let stand one minute, then serve.

The best way to make sure you get adequate amounts of fiber in your diet is to eat a variety of high-fiber foods: whole-grain breads, bran cereals, beans, oatmeal, vegetables and fruits — especially figs, one of the very best fiber sources around.

PHOTO : Delicious Jarlsberg Casserole Bread features rice bran, whole-wheat flour and wheat germ.

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