History of Figs

A relatively new agricultural practice in South Africa
Safigs History Ill
The fig is arguably the most famous fruit in history, sitting a close second to the famed apple, which was eaten by the first consumers on earth, a certain Mr Adam and Miss Eve.

Scholars, both religious and scientific have actually claimed that the first fruit was indeed a fig.

There have been fossilised remains found of commercial fig use 5000 years ago, a mere 2000 years after the first record of civilised humans.

The exotic fig as used in culinary recipes dates back to the Sumerian tablets some 25,000 years ago and many historians consider it the first of all domesticated crops.

The fig is one of the most delicious fruits and is extremely popular in supermarket aisles and on dinner tables across the world.

The fruit does not only provide a culinary delight but is high in vital nutritions such as potassium, iron, fibre and calcium andcertain components of the fruit has a medicinal use as a diuretic.

The sweet flesh is used as a symbol in many of the world’s largest religions, including Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism and Buddhism, representing fertility, peace, and prosperity.

The Ancient Olympic Games held in Greece thousands of years ago, featured and extolled the virtues of figs for their athletic prowess, and Pliny the Elder spoke in wonder as to the fruit’s restorative powers. The prophet Mohammed reportedly identified the fig as the one fruit he would most wish to see in paradise.

The Fig tree is in itself a marvel and can live as long as 100 years old, providing a century of use commercially if treated right and through agriculturally sound techniques. The deciduous tree can grow as high as 50 feet but typically grows between 10 and 30 feet in commercial use.

South Africa is one of the biggest exporters of figs across the seven continents, particularly to Europe and Asia – figs flourish in hot dry climates, requiring all-day sun to ripen. The Western Cape summer months are long, and hot and dry.