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Sunday, 1 February 2015


Fossil records date figs back to between 9400-9200 BC.

The fig was one of the principal articles of sustenance among the Ancient Greeks. The Greek district of Attica, which included Athens, was particularly famous for its luscious figs, and the fruit became an obsession for its citizens, rich or poor.

Solon, the ruler of Attica made it illegal to export figs out of Greece, making sure there are plenty for his subjects.

The Roman politician and author Pliny the Younger was a great believer in figs. He wrote they were the best food that could be eaten by those who had been brought low by long sicknesses and were on the way to recovery. He suggested  figs were suitable for both the young and the elderly as they strengthened the young people, and help keep the elderly in better health enabling them to “look younger with fewer wrinkles".

Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment while meditating underneath a Ficus religiosa tree. A branch of the original fig tree was rooted in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka in 288 BC and is known as Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi; it is the oldest flowering plant (angiosperm) in the world.

The Ficus religiosa tree is considered sacred by the followers of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. Sadhus (Hindu ascetics) still meditate beneath sacred fig trees, and Hindus do pradakshina (meditative pacing) around the sacred fig tree as a mark of worship.

Figs have a 55 percent natural sugar content, making them the sweetest of all fruits.

They are highly nutritious. Figs serve as a natural source of beta carotene, iron, potassium and both soluble and insoluble fiber

Figs are full of digested wasps. After a fig wasp pollinates the fruit it dies and decomposes inside it. However, the fig itself contains an enzyme called ficin, which breaks down and digests the insect, making it a part of the fruit.

California produces 98 percent of USA's figs.

Sources, Food For Thought by Ed Pearce

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