I was not exposed to figs until about a year ago! And I absolutely obsessed with it!
Here are the fun facts about figs:
- Fig trees have no blossoms on their branches. The blossom is inside of the fruit! Oh yes… the crunchy little edible seeds that you are eating are the seeds to many tiny flowers.
- Fig naturally help hold in moisture in baked goods.
- Fig puree can be used to replace fat in baked goods.
- California grows many varieties of figs, but the most common ones are the Calimyrna (golden) and Misson (dark purple).
- California produced 100% of the nation’s dried figs and 98% of the fresh figs.
- The Spaniards introduced Misson Figs to California territory in the early 16th century.
- The priests at Mission San Diego originally planted figs in California in 1769. This is how the dark purple figs became known as “Mission”.
- Many believe it was actually the fruit in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, not apples.
- In Roman times, figs were considered to be restorative. They were believed to increase the strength of young people, to maintain the elderly in better health and to make them look younger with fewer wrinkles – Pliny (52-113 AD)
- Figs made its first commercial product appearance with the 1892 introduction of Fig Newtons cookies.
- The fig tree is a symbol of abundance, fertility, and sweetness.
- Eat one-half cups of figs has much as calcium as drinking one and a half cups of milk.
- Figs have two main harvest times, first in June and second, the larger harvest later in summer and fall.
- Figs thrive in hot, dry climates, like the Mediterranean. Turkey tops world production, follow by Egypt, Iran, Greece, Algeria, and Morocco.
- Figs have a 55% natural sugar content, making them the sweetest of all fruits.
Fig Varieties Include:
- O’Rourke: A sugary sweet fig that is brownish-purple on the outside and light red on the inside and grows early in fig season.
- LSU Purple: A mildly sweet fig with a firm white flesh and purple skin that grows midseason.
- Green Ischia: Green on the outside and bright red on the inside, this late-season fig has a very sweet jammy flavor.
- Alma: This honey-flavored late-season fig has a golden-brown outside and an amber-colored flesh.
- Brown Turkey: Light red flesh with a classic sweet flavor and a golden brown skin that grows late in the season.
- Marseille: This mild-flavored, midseason fig with a light green outside and a whitish-yellow flesh were first introduced by Thomas Jefferson.
- Italian Black: This black beauty is a midseason fig with a bright red flesh and sweet taste and is often used to make preserves.
- Papa John: This richly sweet purple skinned midseason variety has a bright red flesh.
- Celeste: This super-sweet midseason variety has a brownish-purple skin and light red flesh.