cultivated fig, Ficus carica L., is a member of the Moraceae (mulberry
fig is native to western Asia, and has been cultivated for thousands of
years in Mediterranean countries of Europe and North Africa.
were introduced to England and Mexico in the 1500's, then the Eastern US
in 1669, and to California in 1881.
figs were cultivated successfully throughout the Gulf states and
California, but the Smyrna fig did not fruit until it was realized that
a tiny wasp was needed for pollination, which was not native to
Growth and Cultivation
large shrub or small, spreading tree with handsome, large, 3-5 lobed
leaves, up to 25cm long and 15cm wide.
fig can grow up to 10m height. The leaves are hairy. The edible fruits
are green or violet to brown.
"Common Fig" is well growing against a warm sunny wall, where the fruits
will be best ripen.
are easily propagated by hardwood cuttings.
- Trees are very
sensitive to frost when actively growing, but can withstand 10°F when
Processed figs are made into pies, pudding, cakes, other bakery
products, jams, jellies and preserves.
paste is a mixture of figs, wheat and corn flour, whey, syrup, oils, and
other ingredients, used in "Fig Newtons".
nutritional value of fresh figs is comparable to that of many other
fruits. They are high in calcium. Dried figs, with only 20% water are
nutritious relative to other fresh fruits
fruit usually is consumed fresh locally or in dried, canned, and
preserved form. Dried figs and those unfit for human consumption, can be
used as animal fodder.
Several countries import dried figs or the paste. The main exporters of
dried figs and paste are Turkey and the United States.
California's production, 85% is marketed as dried figs, 12% as canned
figs and fig juice, and 3% as fresh fruit.
economic importance of fig production is likely to continue into the
future. In the world market, there is an increasing demand for fresh
figs and a stable demand for dried figs.
most important trade aspects of this species are the short commercial
life of the fresh fruits, and for the dried fruits, the market
competition of Turkish production, where production costs are lower than
for other countries (Europe).
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