All You Need To Know About Figs:
Figs are fruits of the fig tree (Ficus carica). They have been cultivated since ancient times. Fig trees are native to tropical Africa, Asia and South America. There are many different kinds of figs, but they all share certain characteristics.
For example, there are two main species of figs: the African black fig (Ficus nigra) and the Mexican red apple fig (Ficus microphylla). Black figs are grown throughout the tropics and Mexico. Red apples are native to Central America and Mexico. These fruit trees produce their seeds in clusters called achenes. When ripe, these achenes fall off the branches and become edible when eaten raw or cooked like other fruits.
Figs can be used as a substitute for meat in some dishes such as soups, stews, casseroles and salads. They can also be added to desserts and confections. Some people prefer eating them fresh while others enjoy eating them dried. Fresh figs are usually sold whole, while dried ones are sometimes available in the grocery store.
Figs have been used medicinally for centuries. Ancient Egyptians believed that fig leaves could cure fevers, coughs and colds. In China, fig leaves were used to treat skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis. Native Americans used fig leaves as poultices to treat earaches.
Figs contain antioxidants like flavonoids and quercetin. Figs also have significant fiber content. The natural sugar in figs called ficocianin helps prevent colon cancer and cardiovascular disease. Figs are also a good source of minerals like manganese, copper and magnesium.
The best time to eat a fig is when the skin turns from green to brown and the texture becomes softer. The flesh of the fruit should be sweet, but not overly so. The best place to buy fresh figs is from farmers’ markets or roadside stands where you can pick out your own instead of buying them at grocery stores.
The most common figs in the United States are the Brown Turkey and the Celeste. Brown Turkey figs are large and have green skin. They have a sweet and mild flavor. Celeste figs are smaller than Brown Turkeys, have brown skin and a pinkish-purple flesh with a sweet flavor.
When buying dried figs, you may come across pink or purple Calimyrna, brown Turkish and black Mission figs. Calimyrnas are the most common of these varieties and can be eaten either dried or fresh. Calimyrnas are large and have a light brown skin with a sweet flavor and soft texture. Turkish figs are also large with a dark brown skin and a sweet flavor.
Mission figs are smaller than the other varieties with black skin and a tart flavor.
Almeria is a variety of dried fig that originated in Spain. It can be eaten either dry or fresh and is usually used to make syrups, jams and preserves. Black Almeria figs have a very sweet flavor and soft texture. White Almeria figs are less common and have the same flavor and texture as the black variety, but the flesh has a light brown color.
Figs can be eaten on their own as a healthy snack or incorporated into many recipes like salads, desserts, main courses and more. Figs can be cooked by steaming, frying, broiling, roasting and more. Enjoy figs fresh or dried in cereals, breads and other baked goods.
Sources & references used in this article:
Figs and fig wasps by JM Cook, SA West – Current Biology, 2005 – cell.com
Rhetoric denuded and redressed: Figs and figures by J Poulakos, S Whitson – 1995 – Taylor & Francis
What you need to know about SDN flow tables by M Kuźniar, P Perešíni, D Kostić – International Conference on Passive and …, 2015 – Springer