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Botanical name: Ficus carica



The fig tree is a very old cultivated plant native to the Near East. In ancient times it was already common in the entire Mediterranean region. This is still the main growing area for figs today.



Fresh figs from Spain and Italy are sold in June and July; from September to November they come predominantly from Turkey and Italy. In the winter months, mainly figs from South America are sold.


Appearance, taste, characteristics

Botanically speaking, the fig is a so-called accessory or spurious fruit; not the skin and the pulp, but rather the small seeds inside are the actual fruits.


The fig is shaped like a pear, or like a thick droplet. The skin is green, yellowish or red-brown to dark purple.


A purple film covers the fruits, giving them a velvety appearance.


The pulp directly beneath the skin is white. That which lies further inside can be light pink to dark red and contains numerous seeds, the true fruits. These cause the crunching sound when a fig is being eaten, the characteristic 'bite'.


Figs have a very sweet, nutty flavour and are quite juicy.



100 g contain:



Fig, fresh

Fig, dried

Energy (kcal)



Water (g)



Protein (g)



Fat (g)



Carbohydrates (g)



Fibre (g)



Vitamin C (mg)



Vitamin A (RE) (µg)



Folic acid (µg)



Potassium (mg)



Sodium (mg)



Calcium (mg)



Magnesium (mg)



Iron (mg)




Quality criteria, optimal storage conditions

Fresh figs spoil easily and will keep only a short time. They are extremely sensitive to pressure and high temperatures. If they are kept in the refrigerator, they should be laid side by side. Dried figs can be kept for several months. They should be checked now and then for pest infestation.


Form of consumption, use, processing, practical tips for preparation

Figs are usually eaten fresh and well-chilled. The skin can be eaten as well, but it is frequently peeled off, or the pulp is spooned out. Figs can be served with cheese and ham. In the countries where they grow, figs are made into jam, alcoholic drinks or breads. Roasted, ground figs are even used as a substitute for coffee. Dried figs are found in mueslis, in baked goods and in fruit salads.


Dried Figs

From an economic point of view, dried figs are more important than fresh. We differentiate between 'natural' figs and 'processed' figs.


Natural figs dry in the sun - directly on the tree or spread out on the ground - or in special ovens. This gives them a round, flat shape, a speckled grey or brownish colour and a honey-like taste. Natural figs have a floury film that forms due to the crystallization of the sugar they contain. It has a preservative function. After they have dried, natural figs are cleaned of impurities and freed of pests and packaged right away.


Processed dried figs are washed after they have dried, briefly immersed in boiling salt water, or steamed for a longer period. Then the softened figs are pressed into shape, dried again, fumigated and packaged. These industrially dried figs keep longer, but they do not have as good a flavour.

Earlier, the highly poisonous substance methyl bromide was used on dried figs to control pests. This is no longer done today. A 28-hour treatment in a gas-tight room under oxygen deprivation and the addition of carbon dioxide is supposed to have the same effect. However, in various investigations it was shown that the pollution of dried figs with aflatoxins, a toxic mould, should not be underestimated. Unfortunately, aflatoxins are not visible to the naked eye, but if you follow these simple rules you can protect yourself:


* Do not buy any very dark or damaged figs.


* Do not continue to eat a fig if the flavour is right away unpleasant.


High-quality dried figs have a fine, tender skin and are large, not crushed, soft, juicy and free of impurities and pests.






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