Figs Fabulous Figs
I love dates and figs and recently experimented with some fig bread recipes.
I am sharing the recipes but also wanted to share some interesting facts about figs.
- Figs come from the Ficus Carica tree. They can be eaten fresh or dried and have a significant amount of fiber as well as carbohydrate. When mixed with Senna they have been used as a laxative.
- Figs were one of the first plants that was cultivated by humans and dates back to 9400 BC. Figs were widespread in Greece and a favorite food of Aristotle. He noted that figs have an interesting cultivation cycle and recorded that the fruits of the wild fig contained a wasp, called a fig wasp. Like other wasps, they begin as a larvae, then pupa and finally as an adult flies out of the fig into a cultivated fig and eventually drops out of the fig. The figs you buy today have been cultivated without the fig wasp but what an interesting fact!
- World production of figs is led by Turkey, then Egypt, Morocco and Algeria but have been bred in other countries and the United States.
- “High priest of the Fig” Ira Condit and William Storey started a fig breeding program at the University of California Riverside in the early 20th century that closed in the 1980s. James Doyle and Louise Ferguson revived the program in 1989.
- Figs are a superfood and quite impressive in how they are beneficial to health and well-being. For my bread I used dried figs. These dehydrated figs contain 30% water, 64% carbohydrate, and minimal protein and fat. They are high in calories but also rich in fiber and essential minerals like manganese, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and Vitamin K. They also contain phytochemicals including the polyphenols. They are an excellent prebiotic and healthy for the colon.
- Figs also have Vitamin C and Vitamin E- great for skin and hair.
- In folk medicine, the milky sap, which is considered toxic to the skin if exposed to sunlight, has been used to soften calluses, remove warts and get rid of parasites. The syrup of figs mixed with Senna has been available since the 1800s as a laxative.
- In Babylonian mythology the fig tree and it’s fruit have been linked to female sexuality, and the Goddess symbol of the fig leaf is the conventional form of the yoni. (what is that) Even today figs have been touted as a fertility enhancer.
- In Genesis, Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit and then cover themselves with fig leaves. Could the forbidden tree have been a fig tree instead of an apple tree. In some Jewish texts the fig is the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
- Figs have been a symbol of fertility and in Micah 4.4 the fig was a symbol of peace and prosperity “each man under his own vine and fig tree”
- Muhammad loved figs and felt they descended from paradise because they were a fruit without pits. He also recommended them for preventing hemmorhoids and gout.
- Cautions with figs? Do not overeat them as they can cause diarreah and if you are on blood thinners, be cautious as they are a source of Vit. K. A daily dose of 2-3 figs is recommended.
THE WINNING RECIPE
- Preheat the oven to 350. Oil or spray a loaf pan for one loaf. I usually make three small breads for every traditional size loaf.
- In a large bowl mash the bananas and then mix in the oil, vanilla, and eggs. Then add the honey.
- In a separate bowl mix the flour, flax seed, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda. Stir into the wet ingredients just until moistened.
- Add the figs and nuts.
- Pour the batter in the prepared pan or pans. For one large loaf bake 45-50 minutes. For small loaves back 30-40 minutes. Check with a toothpick and make sure the center comes out clean. Better to be moist than dry.
- Take the bread out and cool for 5 minutes then remove from the pan and serve warm or at room temp.
- I always double or triple my recipes and freeze breads. Wrap them in foil and put in a plastic bag or plastic container. They make wonderful gifts or spontaneous treats with coffee or tea.