Interesting Fig Facts
Although considered a fruit, the fig is actually a flower that is inverted into itself. The seeds are drupes, or the real fruit. Figs are the only fruit to fully ripen and semi-dry on the tree.
For many years the fig has been used as a coffee substitute. The fruit contains a proteolytic enzyme that is considered as an aid to digestion and is used by the pharmaceutical industry.
This proteolytic enzyme, also known as ficin, primarily contained in the stem of the fruit, helps to break down tissue and was for many years the major ingredient in Adolph’s Meat Tenderizer. Because of its high alkalinity, it has been mentioned as beneficial to persons wishing to quit smoking.
Dried figs were first sold in a commercially manufactured cookie in 1892.
Figs contain a natural humectant – a chemical that will extend freshness and moistness in baked products.
Another chemical found in figs, Psoralens, has been used for thousands of years to treat skin pigmentation diseases. Psoralens that occur naturally in figs, some other plants and fungi, is a skin sensitizer that promotes tanning in the sun.