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Fig History

Figs are used as a sweetener

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Black Mission Figs

© 2006 Peggy Trowbridge
Thought to be the sweetest fruit, figs are also one of the oldest fruits recognized by man. It's no wonder the fig has been enjoyed for centuries. Its sweet, delicious flesh, long used as a sweetener before the advent of refined sugars, enhances both savory dishes and desserts. Not to worry if you don't have access to fresh figs. Dried figs are readily available.

Fig History

Ficus carica, known to us as the common fig, originated in northern Asia Minor. Spaniards brought the fig to America in 1520.

The fig tree was mentioned prominently in The Bible (some scholars believe the forbidden fruit picked by Eve was a fig rather than an apple), but it has been around much, much longer. Sumerian stone tablets dating back to 2500 B.C. record the usage of figs.

Cooked figs were used as sweeteners in lieu of sugar in historical times, and this usage still continues today in North Africa and the Middle East.

High in potassium, iron, fiber and plant calcium, figs are also used for medicinal purposes as a diuretic and laxative.

The fig tree can live as long as 100 years and grow to 100 feet tall, although domestic trees are kept pruned to a height of about 16 feet.

More about Figs:
Fig Equivalents and Cooking Tips
Fig Varieties and Terms
Fig Selection and Storage
Fig Legend and Lore
Fig History
Fig Recipes
Black Mission Fig Photo © 2006 Peggy Trowbridge, licensed to About.com, Inc.

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