WHAT IS BEHIND THE DELICIOUS LITTLE FRUIT
Figs come from the Middle East and are believed to have been brought to the Mediterranean by the Phoenicians. Later they were introduced by the Greeks to Palestine and Asia Minor.
- The fig (Ficus carica) is a plant of the mulberry family and an edible fruit. Fig trees have been found in excavations of Neolithic sites dating back to 5,000 BC.
- Figs were an important part of the basic diet of the ancient Greeks, and like the olive and vine, a symbol of peace and prosperity.
- In many world religions, figs symbolize fertility, peace and prosperity. It is the first fruit tree mentioned in the Bible, and Islam also considers some figs to be holy. In Israel, it often symbolized the health of the nation, both spiritually and physically.
- Depending on the variety, figs are dark purple, green, brown or vary from light to dark red. The color of the flesh ranges from amber to bright red. The yellow, crunchy, edible seeds that penetrate the entire pulp are typical.
- The fig tree has a long life expectancy and can live up to 100 years. It grows wild but is also found in many gardens throughout the Mediterranean as it needs the warm climate to thrive.
- They can be eaten fresh, dried, peeled, unpeeled, or as chutney and jam. They are also great in yogurt, smoothies, salads or savory dishes such as in combination with Serrano ham or prosciutto, bacon, balsamic vinegar or cheese.
- Figs are high in natural sugars, minerals like potassium and magnesium, and soluble fiber. They are particularly rich in calcium and also a good source of vitamins A and K for a strong immune system.
- The fruit is so widespread in the Mediterranean that it has always been referred to as “poor man’s food”. The fig season usually starts in late June and can last until early fall.
- Slimming-conscious people can eat fresh figs without hesitation. 100 g of fresh figs have an average of 68 kcal – this corresponds to 290 kJ. However, the situation is quite different with dried figs. As a result of drying, the calorie content increases to 247 kcal per 100 gr.
- Dried figs are also rich in vitamins and minerals. They are a better source of phenolic compounds and antioxidants than the fresh ones. Antioxidants slow down the aging process and scavenge free radicals that cause oxidative stress.
The article was first published in the Issue 19