Fresh Figs

The common fig or Ficus carica is an Asian species of flowering plant in the mulberry family. Native to the Middle East and western Asia, it has been sought out and cultivated since ancient times.

Although commonly denominated a "fruit", the fig is actually an infructescence or scion of the tree, known as a "false fruit" or "multiple fruit", which bears the flowers and seeds. The flowers are not visible outside the syconium because they bloom inside the infructescence.

The 'fruit' is a hollow-ended stem that contains many flowers. The small orifice, denominated the "ostiole", that is visible on the middle of the fruit is a narrow passage, which allows the specialized fig wasp, Blastophaga psenes to enter the fruit and pollinate the flowers, after which the fruit grows seeds.

Figs can be eaten fresh or dried, and used in jam-making. Most commercial production is in dried or otherwise processed forms, since the ripe fruit does not transport well, and once picked does not keep well. The widely produced fig roll is a biscuit (cookie) with a filling made from figs.

Fresh figs are in season in summer to late summer. Fresh figs used in cooking should be plump and soft, and without bruising or splits. If they smell sour, the figs have become over-ripe. Slightly under-ripe figs can be kept at room temperature for 1–2 days to ripen before serving. Figs are most flavorful at room temperature.

In a 100-gram serving providing 229 calories, dried figs are a rich source (more than 20% DV) of dietary fiber and the essential mineral manganese (26% DV), while several other dietary minerals are in moderate-to-low content.

 

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