Ficus carica is an Asian species of flowering plants in the mulberry family, Moraceae, known as the common fig (or just the fig). It is the source of the fruit also called the fig, and as such is an important crop in those areas where it is grown commercially. Native to the Middle East and western Asia, it has been sought out and cultivated since ancient times, and is now widely grown throughout the temperate world, both for its fruit and as an ornamental plant. The species has become naturalised in scattered locations in Asia and North America.
Figs can be eaten fresh or dried, and used in jam-making. Most commercial production is in dried or otherwise processed forms, since the ripe fruit does not transport well, and once picked does not keep well. The widely produced fig newton or fig roll is a biscuit (cookie) with a filling made from figs. Fresh figs are around from late Summer through to mid-Autumn. Fresh figs used in cooking should be plump and soft without bruising or splits. If they smell sour, the figs have become over-ripe. Slightly under-ripe figs can be kept at room temperature for 1-2 days to ripen before serving. Figs are most flavourful at room temperature.
Raw figs are a good source (14% of the Daily Value, DV) of dietary fibre per 100 gram serving (74 calories), but otherwise do not supply essential nutrients in significant content. In a 100 gram serving providing 229 calories, dried figs are a rich source (> 20% DV) of dietary fibre and the essential mineral, manganese (26% DV), while several other dietary minerals are in moderate-to-low content. Figs contain diverse phytochemicals, including polyphenols such as gallic acid, chlorogenic acid, syringic acid, (+)-catechin, (−)-epicatechin and rutin. Fig colour may vary between cultivars due to various concentrations of anthocyanins, with cyanidin-3-O-rutinoside having particularly high content.
This post is part of the Friday Greens meme,
and also part of the Food Friday meme.