The fig (Ficus carica) is native to Asia Minor, Caria region, where it gets its generic name. It’s among the first plants cultivated by man and one of the oldest fruit trees.
Archaeological evidence confirms the presence of figs in the diet of Mesopotamian people, Palestinians and Egyptians.
According to the legends of ancient Greece, initially the fig tree was only growing on Mount Olympus, its fruits being a privileged and reserved food, exclusively for Gods.
Demetra, who started looking for her daughter Persephone, who was abducted by Pluto, gave the precious fruit to a farmer who planted the seeds. And so, the fig tree has gradually spread throughout Greece and the Mediterranean.
The fig tree is a symbol of abundance and knowledge. It is considered sacred in some cultures: for example, in ancient Rome, because Rome’s founding myth, which says that Romulus and Remus were nursed by a she-wolf under a fig tree.
Also, in Buddhist traditions, it is said that Buddha attained enlightenment while meditating under a fig tree (the tree of enlightenment or Bodhi tree).
There are more than 150 types of figs, which can be distinguished both by their size and the color of the fruit, that can be green, yellow, brown, purple or black.
Figs are very nutritious, rich in simple sugars that are easily assimilated by our bodies, thus representing an important source of energy, especially recommended for athletes, children, the elderly and pregnant women.
Figs, fresh or dried, have a number of properties:
1. Antioxidant, with high concentration of polyphenols, which helps maintain a healthy cardiovascular system;
2. Digestive, with a beneficial role in the treatment of gastritis;
3. Laxative, due to fibers (lignin) and mucilages, which helps in chronic constipation;
They are especially rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 and C. They are remineralizing due to the presence of calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron and phosphorus, helping to strengthen bones and teeth, protect the skin and improve vision. Figs also contain tryptophan, an essential amino acid precursor of serotonin, so they are recommended in the case of insomnia and depression.
The decoction of dried figs (about 40 to 120g per liter of water) has a soothing and expectorant effect, indicated in chronic bronchitis, laryngitis and fever.
In case of constipation, you can boil in 2 cups of water, 30g of dried figs cut in small pieces, for about 20 minutes. After it has cooled down a little, you can drink it and eat the fruit on an empty stomach in the morning.
Some people also try the following combination: 3-4 fresh figs cut in 4 and12 raisins, boiled in milk.
To make it even more simple, let 6 figs to soak in some water for the whole night, and then eat them in the morning on an empty stomach.
Against aging, crush fresh figs in a bowl, add honey and lemon juice, stir well and consume on an empty stomach in the morning.
When buying figs, make sure they are whole, with pigtails and not too soft. They can be kept fresh in the refrigerator for a maximum period of three days, preferably in a sealed container to prevent absorption of odors from other foods. They can be frozen, but in this case, not more than thirty days.
The are many ways to prepare and eat figs. Which recipes have you tried? Please leave us a comment bellow.