It's a Flower! Not a Fruit! Hallo Mr. Fig!
We do know that figs grow on trees and we all know they are delicious but let's get technical again! Figs are technically not fruit, they are flowers. The green or dark purple orb we eat is called a Syconium, this is Greek (Sykon) for fig. Some clever botanists call it "enclosed inflorescence", in short, it is the thread like male and female flowers that grow inside the globe like fruit!
They are rich in fibre, vitamins, and minerals.
Want to know more about how figs are grown, read here!
Fig trees prefer well-drained, fertile soil as well as a sunny (minimum 8 hours’ sunshine per day) but sheltered position. Planting a fig tree against a south or south-west wall would be ideal. The roots of fig trees should be restricted to ensure that all the tree’s energy goes into the fruits. Due to this people often plant their fig trees in containers, not only so that the roots are restricted but also because the tree can be moved to protect it from frost. Fig trees are drought tolerant but will produce more fruit if it’s frequently watered.
The best time to plant fig trees is at the beginning of spring after the frost season. They need to be planted 3 meters apart due to the trees growing 2 – 3 meters wide. Fig trees can start producing figs after 2 years, and are harvested at the end of summer and autumn.
From Flower to Harvest
Fig trees bloom in early to mid-spring, it has small, greenish-white flowers that are usually hidden from view with large green leaves that are divided into 3 or more lobes. The flowers ripen as the season progresses and turns into a fig.
After the figs have formed it takes only a few weeks for the figs to grow and ripen. There are a few ways to tell when a fig is ripe.
First is sight:
1. Colour: when figs change colour from green to purple/brown you will know it is ripe and ready to be harvested. However, some variety of figs are green when they are ripe, so you will not be able to go on its colour.
2. Appearance: The figs will hang in a droopy way on the tree when it's ripe and almost look like a tear. Unripe figs will stand out and away from the tree.
3. Size: As the figs mature, it will also grow in size. The size will depend on the variety of tree, but the figs will all increase in size as it ripens.
Second is touch:
A ripe fig will be soft to the touch when it is softly squeezed. Unripe figs will be hard and firm. This is because it has not yet produced the juices and sugars that a ripe fig has.
Third is taste:
Ripe figs have a rich and sweet taste with a soft texture while unripe figs can be rubbery, dry and lacking sweetness.
Figs are hand harvested to ensure that all the ripe figs are harvested as well as to ensure that the figs obtain minimum damage. The figs will easily come off the stem when it's ripe.
There are 3 ways to dry figs: sun drying, oven drying and drying them in a dehydrator. We prefer sun drying our figs to ensure a delicious, sweet and natural taste.
After the harvest, the figs are washed thoroughly. The fruit can then be cut in half or dried whole - the size of the figs will depend on how long they take to dry. The figs are then placed on a rack and a cheesecloth is put over the figs as a means of pest control. The rack is placed in the sun and turned daily. 2 – 3 days will be enough to dry the figs in a warm, sunny area.
The figs are then treated for any possible insects or bacteria and packaged before being sold.
Our figs are imported from Turkey. They are sundried and coated with rice flour. They are a light-medium brown colour and has a sweet taste.
Turkey is the world’s largest exporter of fresh and dried figs. Fig exports have a sizable influence on Turkeys economy and GDP. Turkey is known for its exotic, high-quality fruit that are available in most countries.
We made it our highest priority to find the best supplier with the best quality figs for your snacking and baking needs.
Image: Paul, & Liz. (2003). Some Pictures of Andalucia. Retrieved from paulandliz.org: https://www.paulandliz.org/Spanish_House/Andalucia.htm
- EatReal Today