Food – Figgy Figs

Delicious sweet fig fruit, dried or fresh, has been a popular delicacy in the Mediterranean diet since biblical times. A member of the family of mulberry, figs are botanically identified as Ficus carica and universally called the “common fig” or “edible fig” in a genus including over 1,000 species.

Part of the wonder of the fig comes from its unique taste and texture. Figs are the sweetest of all fruits, boosting a 55% sugar content and featuring a complex texture that combines the chewiness of their flesh, the smoothness of their skin, and the crunchiness of their seeds.

Fig trees never blossom because the flowers are on the inside. Figs are not technically a fruit but are inverted flowers. Tiny flowers bloom within the pear-shaped pod called syconia, which later matures into the fruit. Each flower within the syconium then produces a single, one-seeded, hard-shelled fruit called achene which gives the fig its crunch. The fig is made up of masses of achene. Thus when you eat a fig, you are actually eating multiple fruits.

Neither bee nor wind contribute to the pollination of figs. Instead, a unique species of wasp, only about ⅛ inch long, pollinates the numerous, tiny club-shaped ovaries extending toward the central hollow cavity of the syconium, as it enters and exits through the small pore or apex on the rounded end of the fig.

Figs have been known to have many medicinal properties. Traditional medicine around the world has made use of figs as poultices on tumors, warts, and wounds. The fruit and leaves have been pulverized and gargled to relieve sore throats. Juice extracted from the leaves are beneficial in soothing insect bites. Used as a facial mask, figs tighten and nourish the skin. Due to high alkalinity, figs diminish desire for cigarettes for those who want to quit smoking.

Figs are dense in phenolic antioxidants. Although sweetest at the firm to tender stage, the riper they are, the more antioxidants they provide, with the dried fruit providing higher concentrations of antioxidants than the fresh fruit. Figs have been shown to increase antioxidant activity in humans for four hours after consumption.

Figs are frequently mentioned in the Old Testament, most notoriously when Adam and Eve covered their nakedness with fig leaves after they ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:7). Isaiah used them to heal skin problems (Isaiah 38:21). In the New Testament Jesus used fig symbolism in some of His parables (Matthew 21; Luke 21).

“Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors” (Matthew 24:32, 33). Be ready, be watchful, ever ready for His soon return!


Fig and Banana Cookies

2 ripe bananas, mashed ½ tsp. cardamom
1 ¼ cups ground almonds, lightly packed 1 Tbsp. chia seeds
¾ cup dried figs, chopped 1 Tbsp. natural sweetener of choice (if using liquid, add ½ tsp. chia seeds), optional
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and let sit 5-10 minutes. Drop 1 ½ Tbsp. dough on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Flatten cookies to desired thickness. Bake in 400F oven for 7-10 minutes, until cookies firm up and edges turn golden. Let cool completely. Enjoy!