Figs, also known as common figs, are a species of flowering plants from the Ficeae tribe and in the mulberry family (Moraceae). Fresh figs are shaped like pears, the skin is green-yellow to violet, depending on the variety, and the fruit itself white-pink to reddish with small edible seeds. They have a sweet, aromatic flavor and are ideal as an ingredient in desserts and hearty dishes.
From Wikipedia: “Ficus carica is an Asian species of flowering plants in the mulberry family, 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 world, both for its fruit and as an ornamental plant. The species has become naturalized in scattered locations in Asia and North America.”
“The edible fruit consists of the mature syconium containing numerous one-seeded fruits (druplets). The fruit is 3–5 centimetres (1.2–2.0 in) long, with a green skin, sometimes ripening towards purple or brown. Ficus carica has milky sap (laticifer). The sap of the fig's green parts is an irritant to human skin.”
“Raw figs are a good source (14% of the Daily Value, DV) of dietary fiber 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 fiber 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 color may vary between cultivars due to various concentrations of anthocyanins, with cyanidin-3-O-rutinoside having particularly high content.”
“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 in season from August through to early October. Fresh figs used in cooking should be plump and soft, and 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 flavorful at room temperature.”
“Figs can be found in continental climates with hot summers as far north as Hungary and Moravia, and can be harvested up to four times per year. Thousands of cultivars, most named, have been developed as human migration brought the fig to many places outside its natural range. Figs plants can be propagated by seed or by vegetative methods. Vegetative propagation is quicker and more reliable, as it does not yield the inedible caprifigs. Seeds germinate readily in moist conditions and grow rapidly once established.”
“Turkey is the leading producer of figs (274.5 thousand metric tons), having 27% of the world total of over one million metric tons. Significant production occurs also in the North African region, particularly Egypt, Algeria and Morocco.
While the United States is lower on the list of fig producing countries, California produces ~ 80% of the U.S. production, some of the greatest research on fig breeding and development in the last 100 years has taken place in California under the auspices of the private growers and public employees of the University of California. As of 2012, there are about 16,000 acres of figs grown in California of about 10 varieties. Those varieties in relative order of acreage are: Calimyrna, Mission, Adriatic types (Conadria, Adriatic, Di Redo, Tena), Brown Turkey, Kadota, Sierra, and Sequoia.”