Figs

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Figs are fruits that aren’t technically fruits. What we usually refer to as the fig fruit is actually the stem tissue. The structure we know as the “fruit” is actually an inverted flower with both the male and the female parts inside the actual stem tissue. The crunchy bits that we think are seeds are actually the remnants of the flowers.

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Order: Rosales
  • Family: Moraceae
  • Genus: Ficus
  • Species: F. carica
  • Binomial name: Ficus carica

Fig Trivia

  • California produces 100% of America’s dried figs and 98% of the fresh figs
  • In baked goods, fig puree can be used to replace fat
  • Fig trees have no blossoms on their branches, they’re inside the fruit
  • By weight, figs have more potassium than bananas and more fiber than prunes

Fig Buying Guide

When buying fresh figs, look for ones that are plump but have slightly wrinkled skin.

While it may sound obvious, avoid figs that look too shrunken/desiccated or the ones that have liquid oozing out of them. Another warning sign to look for is that if one fig in a group has molds, it’s a sign that the entire batch may be bad or contaminated.

Fig Production & Farming in Texas

While figs have been part of Texas homesteads since the early development of the state, it is surprising to find out that there is no large-scale commercial fig production in the State. Figs grow extremely well along the Gulf coast and they can grow and survive in almost all parts of the state.

Small independent growers have been known to produce figs in Texas but not in the volumes that can be deemed full commercial.

Pesticides:

Due to their thin skins and the amount of pesticides used on figs (half a pound of pesticides per acre), it is safe to assume that figs that are sprayed with pesticides contain a fair amount of residue.

Geography:

Figs thrive in almost any type of soil as long as there is proper drainage. Figs can tolerate salt and they usually grow along the coast near brackish water. They require full sunlight, especially morning sun, to dry off the dew and prevent rot from occurring.

Packaging:

Since not all figs ripen at the same rate, trees can be harvested multiple times during a single season. Figs are hand-harvested from the tree, making sure that they are ripe before being picked because figs are non-climacteric. Non-climacteric is just a fancy way of saying that they do not continue to ripen once picked off the tree.

The harvested figs are then taken to a packing facility where they are hand sorted for quality then packed into boxes. After being boxed, they are cooled down before being shipped to their final destinations.

Eating Figs

The best way to eat a fig is directly off a tree. Store-bought ones are also great.

To open a fig, gently press the fig in the middle top part to split the fruit. All parts of the fig is edible apart from the green stem that sticks out of the top part.

Storage:

Fresh figs are best consumed immediately after purchase. You can store them inside your fridge, make sure it’s the coldest part, for up to two days.

You can also safely freeze your figs in a freezer-safe container for up to a year.

Cooking:

Figs have a lot of uses in the kitchen for cooking.

Figs contain protein-digesting enzymes that can help in breaking down connective tissue and muscle in meat. This means that you can use figs as an effective meat tenderizer.

Fig puree can also be used as a replacement for lard/fat in baked goods.

In recipes that call for prunes, dates and apricots, figs can be used as a substitute.

Nutrition:

  • Carbs
    • Figs are high in carbs and sugar content. Figs also have a high glycemic index so diabetics should take extra caution when deciding to consume figs.
  • Fiber
    • Figs are high in fiber, each serving providing almost 25% of the recommended daily intake.
    • Fiber helps with digestive health by preventing constipation and keeping cholesterol down by binding with it and flushing it out.
  • Vitamins and minerals:
    • Figs are an excellent source of potassium. One serving of figs provides you with 10% of your RDI.
      • Potassium is important for managing blood pressure and for maintaining heart health.
    • Figs are a good source of vitamin A and provides you with 9%-12% of the RDI.
      • Vitamin A keeps your vision healthy.
      • Figs lose a lot of Vitamin A when dried. If you’re looking specifically for Vitamin A, stick with the fresh figs.
    • Figs are an excellent source of Magnesium, both fresh figs and dried figs.
      • One serving provides about 10% of the RDI.
      • Magnesium helps with muscle and nerve function.
      • Magnesium also helps with overall bone health and helps maintain blood sugar and blood pressure levels.

When Are Figs in Season in Texas?

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  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • Oktober
  • November

One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas.

Buy Local Farmfresh Figs in Texas Directly from the Producer

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