Don’t be fooled by its delicate branches and sweet fruits – the fig is an extremely tough tree. Its strong snake-like roots can even put a hole through pipes. If you accidentally planted it near your house, it would stealthily crack the walls. There is a reason for the Turkish idioms about figs, such as “plant a fig tree in one’s house” (meaning to ruin one’s family) and “the fig has a dark shadow” (used to describe someone intimidating).
People have been growing figs for over 10,000 years. Ancient Egyptians always put a fig in the baskets they buried with the dead. Those setting off on a long journey depended on the strength provided by dried figs. Athletes and champions also ate figs. The Romans believed that figs were a gift from Bacchus, the god of wine and ecstasy. They fed geese on a lot of figs because they believed it made the goose livers more delicious. As a matter of fact, in many Latin languages, the word liver is derived from the word fig (ficatum), like “fegato” in Italian.
The fig takes its botanical name, ‘Ficus Carica’, from the Karya region in South-western Anatolia. Turkey is by far the world’s largest producer of figs. There is a fig to suit everyone’s tastes: Sweet, sour, honey, large seeds…
You don’t need any excuses to eat figs. In case you were wondering, it is said to be full of vitamins and minerals, with high levels of vitamins A and B6, and is rich in calcium, potassium and iron. Two fresh figs have a calcium content equal to one glass of milk. As figs are high in fibre, they are a natural detox food and have more fibre than apples, bananas and oranges. Figs are rich in antioxidants, which means they can help fight the signs of ageing. The fig is one of the most important aphrodisiac fruits due to its shape and honey-like texture. Its leaves are also recommended for diabetic patients. What more could you ask for?