Figs were one of the first plants to be cultivated by humans. Recent evidence found suggests they were cultivated in the Jordan Valley as early as 9400-9200 BC, ie before the first cereals were domesticated.
The fig is actually a fig/flower – the tiny flowers are clustered inside.
The most commonly eaten fig today is Ficus carica. Unlike many other species of fig, this one is not pollinated by wasps which lay their eggs inside the fig’s cavity. So you can bite into your fig without too much worry.
Adam and Eve used fig leaves to cover themselves after eating fruit from the garden of Eden, as they became self-aware. Fig leaves have long been used to cover the genitals of men and women in paintings and sculptures.
Fresh and dried figs are a good source of antioxidants, which are believed to slow down, halt or even reverse (the onset of) natural ageing and certain diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular diseases and Alzheimer’s disease.
The fig is a distant relative of the mulberry, breadfruit and jackfruit.
Fresh figs are delicious with buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto di Parma and/or mature goat’s cheeses (eg Garrotxa). Try making a starter out of some of these ingredients, served with extra-virgin olive oil and wild rocket.