Figs are highly nutritious. They are loaded with vitamins and minerals. Whether it is a fresh fruit or its dried version, the taste is simply mind blowing and nutrient value remains the same. That is why its popularity is on the rise. This fruit benefits are numerous and can improve overall health. They are regarded as nutrient dense food.
Because of losses in transport and short shelf life, these are a high-value fruits of limited demand.
Before discussing about a few more fig fruit facts, let us talk about the important features of its trees.
BOTANICAL NAME – Ficus carica
FAMILY NAME – Moraceae
It grows on a bush or small tree with cylindrical stem. The tree grows to a height of about 15-30 feet and has ample latex producing ducts. Fig leaves are bright green, single, alternate and large (to 1 ft length) broad ovate or nearly orbicular, more or less deeply 3-5 lobed, rough above and pubescent below.
Its fruit is usually pear shaped, variable in size and color. The matured "fruit" has a tough peel (pure green, green suffused with brown, brown or purple), often cracking upon ripeness, and exposing the pulp beneath. The interior is a white inner rind containing a seed mass bound with jelly-like flesh. The edible seeds are numerous and generally hollow, unless pollinated. Pollinated seeds provide the characteristic nutty taste of dried fruit variety.
This plant is considered to be a native of Western Asia region and is grown nearly in all tropical and sub tropical countries. They have been distributed by man throughout the Mediterranean area. Remnants of figs have been found in excavations of sites traced to at least 5,000 B.C.
This fruit grows best and produces the best quality fruit in Mediterranean and dryer warm-temperate climates.
Fruits must be allowed to ripen fully on the tree before they are picked. They will not ripen if picked when immature. A ripe fruit will be slightly soft and starting to bend at the neck. Harvest the fruit gently to avoid bruising. Fresh fruits do not keep well and can be stored in the refrigerator for only 2 - 3 days. Some varieties of this fruit are delicious when dried. They take 4 - 5 days to dry in the sun and 10 -12 hours in a dehydrator. Dried variety can be stored for six to eight months.
PARTS USED –
Bark, leaves, fruit
• Energy giving
• Anti boil
• Nutritive and tonic
FORMS OF USE –
Its main use is as an edible nutritive fruit. Secondary uses are as a decoction and as a poultice.
PRESERVATION OF FIG –
Fruits are preserved by drying. Ripened figs are carefully picked and sprayed in trays in single layers and exposed to moist sulfur fumes for 20 – 30 minutes. They are exposed to the sun in wooden racks and turned over daily for 5 – 7 days to ensure even drying. Before the drying is complete, fruits are pressed flat to economize packing space and to improve their appearance. Before packing they are dipped in boiling salt solution (3%) to render them soft and to improve the taste. Sun dried fruits are graded according to size and color. First grade fruits possess a semi-transparent rosy skin, beautifully streaked at the stalk end. Second grade fruits are darker and less attractive in appearance.
A novel way of preservation could be to put the properly dried fruits into honey. These will be highly nutritious and wholesome.
Sherbet or preserved juice of this fruit is also prepared and available in the market to cater to the needs of people suffering from stomach trouble, indigestion, flatulence and dyspepsia.
Read more about this fruit:
Fig Nutritional Value
Benefits of fig
Fig Health Benefits
Nutritional value of fruit can be enjoyed in many ways. Put it in the smoothie, chop and toss in your salads, add to the baked goodies, or simply munch on them, when you feel low on energy!
Fruits are loaded with vitamins and minerals. Vitamins A and B are found in ample amounts in figs. One can also increase intake of dietary minerals like iron, calcium and manganese by eating serving of fruits everyday. This is because, this seasonal fruit is an excellent source of all these minerals.
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Fruits and Vegetables Nutrition