Fascinatingly fun facts about figs

Origins -
The common fig is indigenous to an area extending from Asiatic Turkey to northern India. Figs are very likely the first fruit to be cultivated by humans.

Figs in history -
Figs were widespread in antiquity, cultivated in ancient Egypt and ancient Greece. They were also a common food source for the Romans.

Figs and fitness -
Ancient Olympians consumed figs as part of their diet while training. They subsequently earned plates of the fruit for their athletic prowess.

Mission figs -
It was Spanish missionaries who introduced the fig to the United States, this in California in 1769. 

Appearance in the UK -
The first fig trees to appear in England were those introduced by Cardinal Reginald Pole to Lambeth Palace in the 16th century.

Fig trees -
There are over 700 types of fig trees, but only a few of them produce the type of fig that we consume.

Longevity -
The deciduous fig tree can live as long as 100 years and grow to 15 m (50 ft) in height.

Fig -
Technically, a fig is not a fruit. Instead it's a syconium—an inverted flower that blooms inside a pod.

Short shelf life -
Fresh figs will spoil within seven to 10 days of harvesting. In fact, the shelf life of fresh figs is two to three days if kept in room temperature and out of the sun.

Fig puree -  fig puree effectively replaces up to half the fat in a recipe, and most, if not all, the sugar.

West is best -
In America, California and Texas produce most of the country's commercial crop.

Fig Newtons -
These cookies made their debut in 1891, invented by Ohio food maker Charles Roser (1864–1937).

Versatile food -
Figs can be eaten fresh or dried. They are also sold canned or frozen. Note that dried figs are high in sugar and calories.

Full of goodness -
Figs have a variety of potential health benefits. They are high in soluble fiber, and so serve to improve digestion and decrease constipation.

Calcium boost -
A half cup of figs packs as much calcium as half a cup of milk.

Rich in minerals -
Figs are packed with minerals, including potassium, magnesium, riboflavin, and calcium. 

Low in calories -
While they contain some calories from natural sugar, adding a few figs to your diet is a great low-calorie snack option or addition to a meal. 

Etymology -
The United Kingdom doesn't produce figs. But the word "fig" was first recorded in England in the 13th century, derived from the Old French figue.

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