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Fun Facts about Figs


They may not look like it, but figs are a member of the mulberry family.

An old English proverb advises ' peel a fig for a friend and a peach for your enemy'. We do not know if this is because figs have been traditionally linked to fertility but the down-side is that they have also been accused of increasing sweat and encouraging lice.

Interestingly fig trees do not flower, the 'fruit' that we eat is the blossom and is pollinated by a special type of wasp.

It is believed that the Phoenicians introduced figs into India and China and they were also used by the Roman armies. Plato was fond of them and they are spoken of in the Bible - Isaiah used them to heal skin problems.

Like dates, the food value increases with drying - one dried fig has almost as much calcium as an egg - and they will keep much longer than fresh figs which are fragile, needing refrigeration and use within a few days.

Long used as a laxative, figs rely on an enzyme that reacts in the bowel, rather than fibre to achieve the desired effect. Fig sap can curdle milk for a primitive type of cheese.

The fresh fruit is best eaten raw although it may be lightly baked with goat's cheese, or poached for a dessert. Dried figs make good snacks or an addition to cakes and desserts although some people do not like the crunchy seeds.

* Diet Data: Carbohydrate, fibre, vitamin C, magnesium, calcium, iron, 160kJ per 100g (fresh) 1133kJ per 100g (dried).

* Shopping Tips: Fresh only available in summer, dried all year round.

* Storage: Fresh - refrigerate, covered; dried - airtight in a cool dry place.


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