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All about “Fig”

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Nutritional value of the fig

  Fresh figs, 2 medium fruits (100 g) Dried figs, about 4 fruits (35 g)
Calories 74 84
Protein 0.8g 1.1 g
Carbohydrates 19.2g 21.5g
Fat 0.3 g 0.3 g
Dietary fiber 2.9 g 3.2g
Low glycemic load    
Antioxidant power    Very high

Source  : Health Canada. Canadian Nutrient File, 2010.

Fig: understand everything in 2 min

Recipe ideas


  • Sandwiches with fig puree. Process figs in a food processor with dry roasted nuts and cream cheese. Spread pieces of bread. Let cool before serving.
  • Blend it with pieces of banana, honey, yogurt and crushed ice. This refreshing drink is ideal for breakfast.
with figs

As an appetizer or starter

  • Eat it raw , peeled or not, with goat or sheep cheese, or simply seasoned with a vinaigrette.
  • Appetizers with figs and cheese. Simmer dried figs in water until they swell. Make a notch in the shape of a cross on their surface and spread the quarters to half-open the fruit. Stuff with cream cheese and blue cheese, beaten together, and garnish with a walnut kernel. Put to cool.
  • Serve as an antipasto , wrapped in a thin slice of prosciutto.
  • Add it to all types of salads
    – minced chicken, sweet onion and cucumber rings, dried beans or cooked chickpeas. Add a sauce made from yogurt, lemon juice, garlic and mustard. Serve on a bed of young lettuces seasoned with fresh basil.
    – Endives, tomatoes, green beans, slivered almonds, fresh herbs and mustard vinaigrette.
    – Green beans, gray shallot, chopped nuts and dry roasted pine nuts.


  • Pilaf rice with figs. Brown the mustard seeds, grated ginger, onion and a small chopped hot pepper in oil. Add basmati or wild rice, diced figs, water or broth and salt. Bring to a boil, cover, lower the heat and cook until the rice is cooked.
  • Vary the ratatouille recipe by adding figs and black olives.
  • Use dried and fresh figs to make a chutney , with apples, onions, vinegar, cinnamon, ginger, pepper, olive oil and honey.

Main dishes

  • Cook the figs for a few minutes in butter while preserving their shape and serve as an accompaniment to meat or poultry.
  • Thread them on skewers with pieces of meat, drizzle with oil or a grill sauce, and grill.
  • Serve them on pasta with pitted black olives and halved cherry tomatoes, previously soaked for a few hours in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, thyme and cayenne pepper. .
  • Sauté onion and garlic in butter or oil. Add strips of red pepper, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes, then add pieces of figs, lemon juice, a little honey and cooked black beans . Heat for about a quarter of an hour and serve.
  • Poultry with figs. Brown chicken, turkey or other poultry pieces in oil. Add 454 g (1 l) of dried figs cut in half, 1 cup of white wine and 1 cup of chicken broth. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer until the poultry is cooked (about 1 hour).
  • In tajines , for example, this tajine of mutton or lamb. Cut a shoulder of lamb into large cubes and mix them with cinnamon, cumin, turmeric and curry and marinate in the refrigerator overnight. Brown onions in butter or oil, add the pieces of meat and cook over low heat until they are tender. Brown figs cut in half in butter, season with a little honey, cinnamon and salt, then pour them into the casserole dish with the meat. Serve with semolina and garnish with dry roasted flaked almonds.


  • Make them poach in syrup, a sweet wine or a mixture of orange juice and black tea. Serve as a dessert or as an accompaniment to meat or game.
  • Cooked and pureed , incorporate the fig into pie preparations, cakes, breads.
  • Use it to decorate ice cream, sorbet or frozen yogurt.
  • Dip it in a chocolate fondue .
  • It is delicious in a clafoutis .


  • Mix 225 g (1/2 lb) of figs in a blender with 60 ml to 80 ml of water (1/4 cup to 1/3 cup) or fruit juice and use as a sugar substitute in the recipes of your choice .

The little story of the fig

Common names: fig, caprifigue.                                                                     
Scientific name: Ficus carica.
Family: moraceae.

The term ” fig  ” appeared in the XIII th  century. The word comes from the Provençal figo which borrowed it from the Latin ficus . He replaced the popular form trust and dialecticale form freezes that went on until the end of the XII th  century. The Latin name possibly comes from the Hebrew feg .

The prickly pear belongs to a completely different botanical family. It is actually the fruit of the prickly pear, a kind of cactus.

Native to West or Southwest Asia, the fig tree is the only one of the 600 to 800 species of Ficus whose fruit is produced on a commercial scale. Other species are grown for the production of latex , which is used to make rubber, or as indoor and outdoor ornamental plants.

Half fig, half grape
This is a very old expression! It refers to the habit of the merchants of the ancient Greek city of Corinth to add to their famous grapes pieces of dried figs, much cheaper, to sell them to the Venetians. This expression will then designate the ambiguity felt by the Venetians, who hesitated between greedy satisfaction and dissatisfaction at having been hoodwinked. Later, it will designate any similar ambiguity.

Along with the date, the olive and the grape, the fig was the most important fruit of the diet of the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean basin . According to vestiges found during the excavation of Neolithic sites in the Near East, the cultivation of the fig tree dates back at least 4,000 years before our era. Phoenicians, Egyptians, Cretans, Greeks and Romans, all worshiped and cultivated this tree. As was the case with many other food plants, the Romans introduced it to the rest of Europe. By the end of the VIII th  century, it is cultivated in France, especially in the orchards of Charlemagne.

The Spanish conquerors introduce in Mexico in the XVI th  century. Then, in the XVIII th  century, the missionaries settle in their California missions, hence the name Mission that carries a variety of the most common figs. Plant of hot and arid climates, the fig tree is widely cultivated in countries like Turkey, Egypt, Greece, Iran and Morocco. These countries alone account for 60% of world production. It is also grown in Central and South America, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, South Asia and the United States, primarily in California.

Only a small part of the production of figs for export is sold fresh. The rest of the production is dried or used by the food industry, which incorporates it into many processed products.

Ecology and environment

Environmentalists are fascinated by the mutual relationship that exists between the fig tree and its only pollinator, the blastophagus . This tiny insect related to bees and wasps needs the fig tree, more precisely the fig, to multiply. In turn, the fig tree needs the blastophagus for its pollination. For the system to work, both must compromise. Some fig trees must be sacrificed to serve as nurseries for the blastophagus and can never produce seeds. As for the insect, it must accept that a certain percentage of the females die during pollination without their having been able to lay their eggs, which constitutes a loss for the future generation.

Nursery figs (or caprifigues , literally “goat figs”), which serve as habitat for the blastophagus and which are parasitized by it, are inedible. The others, called “nurseries”, are edible. As both grow on different trees, it was long believed that they were two different botanical species, which is not the case.

Only certain types of fig trees use this strategy, notably the Smyrna fig , whose fruits are particularly tasty. At the end of the XIX th  century, it will introduce in California. But, for years, the trees will refuse to bear fruit until we discover the role that the blastophagus plays in their pollination and that we import it from Europe.

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