Ficus carica

Ficus carica

The common fig (Ficus carica L., 1753) is a xerophilic plant native to the temperate subtropical climates of the Moraceae family. This plant is the northernmost species of the Ficus genus.

Systematic –
From a systematic point of view figs belong to Eukaryota Domain, Kingdom Plantae, Magnoliophyta Division, Magnoliopsida Class, Urticales Order, Moraceae Family, and then Genus Ficus and Species F. charge.

Etymology –
The term fig is used for the fig tree fruit in almost all Italian dialects. He has always had a strong sexual connotation for the female genital attribute, and for action with it. The meaning is also taken up by Dante in the Divine Comedy, in the part of Hell, in which he uses an extended term to Vanni Fucci, who “cries” to God. Before then the term is annotated for the meaning of female genital attribute by Aristotle (350 BC); derives in this sense from the Syrian (Phoenician) pagga, and this from the previous Aqadic pīqu, or sīqu (2300 A C), both as a precise noun for female sexual attribute and for related derivatives (verbs referring to activity sexual).

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Ficus Charge is a heliophilic and thermophilic plant, planted on dry and stony limestone or neutral soils, sometimes also at the foot of walls and walls, especially in the presence of fissures; for its growth it becomes critical in arid places the presence of small water resources, whether manifest or not.
It has an extreme variability of cold resistance, which is almost constant in all varieties for the plant survival (in Italy), but is rather extensive with respect to the vital conditions associated with the lignification of the herbaceous parts. In summary a young plant, or intense growth, or excessive irrigation or fertilization can be severely damaged at temperatures of -6 ° C. An old plant with woody branches in arid and sunny soil is resistant to -18 ° C.
Conditional is the variety of plants for fruit ripening, there are varieties with hard shelled fruits, less susceptible to mold development and “closed” ostyolysis, which allow fruit to grow in colder and more humid climates.
Its presence is from north to south from 0 to 600-800 m altitude in south exposure; in Sicily we find it up to 1000 m on Etna.
The plant is still present in nature in desert and subdesert areas, warm and arid, with few but secure water resources; is widely cultivated throughout the national territory, in arid, well-drained, sunny areas.
The Ficus charge area is contiguous to that of the Ficus palmata, the southernmost; the two species are botanically close (but not the same), and probably have been geographically separated in relatively recent times, from one of the last glaciations (40,000-100,000 years ago). The two areas have the greatest proximity, or overlap, in Egypt, Jordan, Iran, Pakistan, where natural hybrids may have been produced.

Description –
The fig is a tree with a short tree trunk that can reach up to 6-10 m in height. It has a finely wrinkled bark and gray-brown color; the lymph of this plant is of white milk; Branches are rich in marrow with endless gemstones covered by two green, or brownish scales.
The loaded Ficus leaves are large, rough, oblong, coarse lobed to 3-5 lobes, dark green on top, lighter and equally ruddy on the bottom.
The fruit of the fig is actually a big fleshy, piriforme infatuation, rich in sugar, mature, called a siconian color varying from green to reddish to bluish-violet, hollow, inside which are enclosed the unusual flowers, very small; a small apical opening, known as ostiol, allows the entrance of pronuto imenotteri; the real fruits, which develop within the inflorescence (which becomes therefore an infruttescence), there are many small trees. The flesh surrounding the little trees is succulent and sweet, and it is the edible part.
The species is characterized by two botanical forms that can be defined as male plants and female plants, since the first (male or capricious plant) is the individual that produces pollen with inedible fruits, while the second real ( a female plant that produces edible fruit) produces seeds in the fruits. In fact, the botanical distinction is much more complex, since caprific has in fact complete parts both for the female part (ovaries suitable for receiving pollen) and for the male part (which produces pollen); The female part is however modified by a microscopic wasp (Blastophaga psenes) that lives in the ovaries (modified in galle) and therefore the female part is sterile. The capricorn plant, by means of the small wasp, carries almost exclusively a male function, producing pollen (at the opening of the siconio) and carrying it from the wasp that breeds; Only the larval females shaman out of the fruit, carrying pollen with them. Capricorn fruit is not edible: it is neither succulent nor sweet.
The real edible fig tree receives instead pollen and therefore ripens seeds that are, as said, botanically achen, or those small grains that lie within the fruit.

Cultivation –
For cultivation see the specific sheet.

Uses and Traditions –
The story of the fig is millennia. Testimonies of its cultivation are already in the early agricultural civilizations of Mesopotamia, Palestine and Egypt, from which it spread later throughout the basin of the Mediterranean Sea. In ancient Greece it was considered a highly erotic fruit to which many myths are linked. Plato, nicknamed “figs eater,” recommended to friends to eat in quantity because, in his words, he intensifies intelligence. The tree of Eden, forbidden by God to man in the Old Testament, would not be an apple tree, but a fig: in fact, Adam and Eve, having eaten the fruit, when they realize they are naked, cover themselves by intertwining fig leaves . The Romans were particularly grateful to him. At the time, it was customary to eat figs as an appetizer, flavored with salt, vinegar, garum (fish sauce).
According to Publius Ovid Nose, figs with honey were offered on New Year’s Eve as a sign of wish. The Romans thought that eating figs “increased the strength of young people, improved the health of the old and even had the effect of reducing the wrinkles! “Veneremque vocat, sed cuilibet obstat” (provokes the stimulus also for those who oppose it): the conviction that the fig had erotic properties was also reiterated by the Salernitana Medical School and, according to popular medicine, two young sterile could resort to a stratagem to remove two fig leaves from the tree, put them under the pillow, convinced that this method could benevolently affect procreation.
The latex of leaves and figs has been used in the past since Homer’s times to make milk leavening in the production of handmade cheese.
The fruits of the fig tree also have good health properties, as told by the georgophile Antonio Targioni Tozzetti in his Medical-Pharmacy Botanic Course (Florence, 1847): “… the dried figs, besides the serving of food, the people adopt them for make it a decoction with jujube and other dried fruits, as a drug expectorant in the bronchitis, coughs … They are laxatives, and enter into certain purgative compositions of old recipes. Usage in cataplasm to apply to ulcers and sores of various kinds, and since ancient times … the fig milk immediately placed on spider bites prevents bad effects. … The branches and the fig leaves, if they are engraved, gemodulate a caustic chicory and spicy flavor, which is used to corrode the warts and skin growths. ”
The most productive Italian regions are Puglia, Campania and Calabria, a significant production also comes from Abruzzo, Sicily and Lazio; Apulia also provides the largest production of dried figs. The productivity of fig depends on climatic factors, humidity and the soil where it is cultivated, it can be estimated that in loose, deep and fresh soils it is possible to produce 4-5 q per tree, while in marginal rocky terrains only a few kilograms per tree. Production begins from the fifth to eighth year of the plant’s (born of seed) and progressively increases until the sixty-year-old when it suddenly decreases and the plant dies for necrosis of woody tissue; under such conditions the production of basal pollen can make possible a resumption of vegetation. From grafted plant production can begin between the second and the third year.
Unfortunately, the production of fresh figs is steadily decreasing, due to the affirmation of large-scale food distribution systems that tolerate delicate harvesting and difficult to preserve such as figs. Cultivation is, however, increasing in domestic gardens, where even with scarce cures to be applied to the tree, there is still the availability of excellent fruits for immediate consumption.
In edible fruit figs, we have three types of gypsum, each year giving distinct fruits:
– florals, or fioroni figs that are formed by gems of the previous autumn and mature at the end of spring or early summer
– figs, or supplied, or pedagogues that form buds in spring and mature at the end of summer of the same year.
– cephalopods produced by top buds produced in the summer and maturing in the late autumn. The production of cimaruoli is limited to regions where the summer is very long and the climate is particularly hot; often incomplete or unsatisfactory.
Capricorn (ficoraccia) has been historically used in the Latium region as a hazard warning at the drainage well wells, typical of the Veio Regional Parks, which, being scattered in the valleys in order to drain the meteoric waters, still form today there are dangers for people and breeding animals. The plant of the ficoraccia was also planted in lands used for pasture without shadow areas in order to provide shelter from the summer sun to people and animals in the pastures.
The fig has many therapeutic and medicinal properties, we recall some:
Fresh Gems: activity is attributed to digestive enzymes contained; regulates motility and gastroduodenal secretion, especially in subjects with psychosomatic reactions at the gastrointestinal tract.
Leaves: harvested from May to August and slowly dried, contain furocumarine, bergaptene, psoralene, coumarin, latex; have emmenagogue, anti-inflammatory, expectorant and digestive properties; furocumarines can cause problems with photosensitisation phenomena.
Immature fruit, green and young shoots: the latex from the cuts contains amylase and protease, it is applied for external use to eliminate calluses and warts, for caustic and proteolytic action; be used with caution: it is burning and irritating to the skin; the application on large surfaces is dangerous, and the exposure of the surfaces, treated and therefore irritated to solar radiation, is very dangerous.
Fresh fruits: taken in quantities have a laxative effect.
Dried fruits: rich in vitamins A and B, proteins, sugars, and mineral salts (potassium, magnesium, calcium) have emollient, expectorant and laxative properties.
The leaves also have some irritating features for skin contact. Sensitization is emphasized by heat and exposure to ultraviolet rays, especially in predetermined subjects; irritation is neutralized by simple rinsing with water and staying away from solar irradiation, even indirect, for a few hours.
It is widespread belief that the fig-latex helps to suntanize. The extensive application of fig-latex on the skin, and subsequent exposure to intense sunlight, results in dangerous cellular injuries, and burns, even serious.
About these fruits is worth remembering the saying: making wedding with dried figs. So talk about who is ridiculed by wanting to accomplish something with excessive economics or without the necessary means. Dried figs are, from our side, a poor and very common food, especially at Christmas, so they are not enough to celebrate an important holiday like wedding.

Preparation Method –
The figs are good to eat both fresh, freshly picked and dried. However, the friction drying is sometimes somewhat problematic. In unsuitable climate, or under inadequate hygienic conditions, they may develop on molds from Aspergillus flavus, aflatoxins producers, known to be one of the most potent known carcinogens, as well as greatly toxic!
As mentioned, figs are really rich in beneficial fruits. They are naturally sweet and are also very versatile in the kitchen. In fact, with recipes with figs you can prepare a full menu of appetizers to the sweet or choose only a few specialties to try.
Remember that figs with their distinctive taste are very well matched to the salty ingredients, creating a pleasant contrast to flavors in your dishes. The recipes with figs have anti-inflammatory properties, help the immune system and improve digestion, just to name some of the virtues of these fruits.
With the collection of figs we suggest below you will be able to enrich your archive of vegetarian recipes and amaze your guests with ever more tasty and healthy ideas. Here are then ten recipes with the figs to experience.
1) Carpaccio with figs
If you are thinking of picking figs to prepare an appetizer somewhat different than usual, this vegetarian recipe could make your case. The figs in this case are combined with mozzarella, parmesan in flakes and aromatic herbs such as rosemary. You will need black pepper and green pepper to season it. Here the recipe.
2) Appetizer with figs and ginger
If you want to prepare an appetizer for figs that are both sweet and slightly spicy at the same time, do not forget to combine these tasty fruits with a touch of ginger. You will also need extra virgin olive oil and bread, even better if homemade. Here the recipe to follow.
3) Figs stuffed with pine nuts and balsamic vinegar
This fig-shaped dish is very versatile. You can serve it as an appetizer, as an aperitif but also as a second original dish accompanied by other seasonal dishes. To taste taste figs here we find pine nuts and balsamic vinegar. For filling figs you can choose spreadable cheese or soft tofu. Here the recipe to follow.
4) Risotto with figs
Have you ever tried to choose figs as ingredients for your risotto? Never underestimate the winning combination of sweet and salty flavors in the kitchen, which will surprise you especially in the first courses. To prepare this risotto you can combine figs of different varieties, such as green figs and black figs. Do not forget to keep slices of fresh figs to garnish. Here’s the risotto with figs.
5) Penne with figs and peppers
If you want to bring a plate of pasta a little different from the usual. the time has come to experience a new seasoning with figs and peppers for classic pens. The recipe plans to use figs, peppers to be cooked in pan and celery. You can choose wholemeal pens or spelled. Here the recipe.
6) Vine shoots and figs
Have you ever tried to make rolls with vine leaves? Some recipes provide you with a filling of rice, raisins and aromatic herbs, but you can add to the ingredients of your plate – suitable as an appetizer or as a second – figs, along with honey and goat cheese. Here the recipe to follow.
7) Crushed with figs
Focaccia with figs, better in sweet or salty version? You choose it, but if you prefer a salted steak, you can serve it as a second dish cut into triangles and accompanied by a light salad or a seasonal vegetable outline. The secret to making this crushed to really special figs is fresh rosemary. For sweet figs, add the nuts and sugar recipe to the full recipe or a natural sweetener of your choice. Here and here are the recipes to inspire you.
8) Strudel with figs and grapes
If you want to change the classic apple strudel recipes you can replace the traditional filling with fresh figs and grapes. Your strudel will be great if you also give a crunchy touch to your cake by adding chopped walnuts or pine nuts. Here is the recipe to inspire you.
9) Homemade fig jam
Here is a classic recipe that our grandmothers used to store figs and we can also prepare them from fresh figs. The fig jam will serve us to prepare homemade tarts, biscuits, pies and other good desserts. You can try replacing the classic sugar cane with whole cane sugar. Here is the recipe to inspire you.
10) Tart of figs and nuts
To prepare your fig-tart you can use both fresh figs, which you can roll with a little lemon juice to get a puree and fig jam. Nuts will make your preparation more crunchy. For the base of the tart, you can choose the short pastry. Here the recipe to follow.

Guido Bissanti

Sources
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Treben M., 2000. The Health of the Lord’s Pharmacy, Tips and Experiences with Medicinal Herbs, Ennsthaler Publisher
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora d’Italia, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (eds.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.

Caution: Pharmaceutical applications and surgical uses are indicated for information purposes only; they do not represent any prescription of a medical type; Therefore, any responsibility for their use for the purpose of healing, aesthetics or food is refused.

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