The honey drop fig, scientific name Ficus carica L, is one of the most consumed autumn “fruits”. In addition to being delicious, figs have several health benefits!
In fact, although we all know it as a fruit, the fig is an inverted flower, as its flowers blossom inside a pod in the shape of a pear, which later ripens and becomes the fruit that we eat. Thus, each flower produces a single fruit, with a single seed, called an achene, and the fig consists of several achenes, which are what gives it its crunchy character. Therefore, when we eat a fig, we are actually eating several fruits.
Figs and Fig Wasps
But it's not just the fact that they are inverted flowers that makes figs a unique case! Once the flowers blossom internally, they use a special pollination process: The fig cannot survive without the fig wasp to disseminate its genetic material, and the fig wasp cannot survive without the fig, because that's where she lays her larvae. The female fig wasp penetrates the male fig - it is important to note that we do not eat male figs - to lay its eggs there.
The male fig, inside, has its own shape to accommodate the wasps when they lay their eggs. The female wasp's wings and antennae break and fall off as she enters the small entrance passage in the fig, so that when she enters, she cannot get out. It's up to the baby wasps to carry the life cycle forward. Baby male wasps are born without wings, because their only purpose is to mate with female wasps and dig a tunnel out of the fig.
It's the baby female wasps that come out of the fig, taking the pollen with them. If a fig wasp accidentally enters a female fig instead of a male one, there is no place for it to breed inside the fig. And it cannot escape, because its wings and antennae have been broken, and so it dies inside the fig. It's a shame, but that's how it transports the pollen that gives us this fruit that we love.
But don't worry, that doesn't mean you're chewing on a wasp when you feel something crunchy when eating a fig! The fig uses an enzyme called ficinia to break down the wasp into proteins. However, those following a vegan diet often choose not to eat figs for this reason.
The Origin of the Fig
The fig is the fruit of the fig tree, originating in the Mediterranean region during the Stone Age. It has been consumed since antiquity, and since it adapts easily to different climates, it spread early in various parts of the world. It is one of the first plants cultivated by Man, and these fruits have been highly appreciated since antiquity.
In Greece, figs were part of the prize awarded to the winners of the Olympic Games. Xerxes, the Persian king, after being defeated by the Greeks at the Battle of Salamis in 480 BC, ate figs from Attica to remind himself that he had failed to conquer the land where that fruit had grown.
Plínio, a renowned Roman writer, attributed to them medicinal qualities, stating that they were “restorative, increase the strength of young people and keep the elderly in good health”.
At the end of the 5th century, at the time of the fall of the Roman Empire, the fig tree spread across Europe, reaching Spain and Portugal.
During the Age of Discovery, the tree finally reached the American continent.
The Health Benefits of Honey Drop Fig
Highly rich in dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals, the honey drop fig contributes to the following health benefits:
- Fights constipation: Figs contain bactericidal and antioxidant properties, which stimulate the production of beneficial bacteria in the intestine, keeping the intestinal flora balanced and promoting the proper functioning of the intestine. With good amounts of fiber, figs favor the elimination of feces, fighting constipation.
- Prevents high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases: Figs are rich in flavonoids, anthocyanins and coumarins, compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which improve the relaxation of the arteries, facilitating blood circulation and preventing high pressure. It also contains potassium, which helps to eliminate excess sodium in the urine, which favors blood pressure control, helping to prevent heart attacks and strokes. It is also very high in potassium and low in sodium. This mineral has a positive effect on vascular tone, contributing to the reduction of blood pressure and helping heart pressure by containing the essential fatty acids omega 3 and 6, in addition to phenol. It is good to remember that excess sodium increases blood pressure, which can lead to hypertension.
- Helps in weight loss: With good amounts of fiber and water, figs help to prolong satiety and reduce hunger, making it a good option to include in weight loss diets.
- Prevents the risk of cancer: Very rich in antioxidants, figs help fight excess free radicals and strengthen the immune system, even preventing the risk of some types of cancer, such as ovary or breast.
- Helps prevent and control diabetes: Rich in antioxidants, it helps to strengthen and protect pancreas cells from free radicals, balancing insulin levels and preventing insulin resistance and diabetes. As it has good amounts of fiber, a nutrient that slows down the absorption of sugar in the body, it helps balance blood glucose and insulin levels.
- Decreases cholesterol and triglycerides: Rich in flavonoids and carotenoids, compounds with antioxidant properties that fight free radicals, prevent the oxidation of fat cells and balance cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. Because it contains fiber, fig helps reduce the absorption of fat from food by the intestine, lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood and preventing complications such as atherosclerosis, stroke and heart attack. Very rich in fiber and antioxidants, fig leaves can be used to lower the level of triglycerides. With this, they reduce the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase those of the good (HDL), which prevents the accumulation of fat in the arteries, and consequently their possible clogging.
- Strengthens the immune system: Figs contain great amounts of flavonoids, carotenoids and quercetin, antioxidant compounds that strengthen the cells of the immune system against infections and inflammation, helping to prevent flu, colds and allergic rhinitis.
- May help prevent osteoporosis: Figs contain calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, minerals that participate in the formation and maintenance of bone health, helping to prevent osteopenia and osteoporosis.
- Prevents premature aging, leaving the skin beautiful and healthy: As it is rich in antioxidant compounds, such as anthocyanins, quercetin and limonene, figs help prevent premature aging by fighting free radicals, which are responsible for damage to skin cells, preventing sagging and the formation of wrinkles. Figs also contain vitamin C and those of the B complex, which have antioxidant properties. With this, they improve the appearance of the skin, leaving it healthier and away from the inflammation that causes acne.
- This fruit gives you more health and disposition: A food very rich in vitamins and minerals, figs are responsible for providing vitamins A, B1 and B2, in addition to the minerals calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium and potassium . All these nutrients work towards the proper functioning of our body.
The best honey drop fig jams
meia.dúzia® uses, in the production of its fig jams, hoeny drop figs, produced in the region of Trás-os-Montes, Portugal.
Fruit jams are prepared by hand, in batches of a maximum of 40 kg and in pans, with fresh fruit, with more than 55% of fruit, without adding additives and preservatives and with a reduced amount of sugar, maintaining and preserving traditional methods.
The packaging is practical, easy to use and spreadable, without the need to use a spoon. They are more hygienic, easy to transport, and can be taken to work, school and take a break with a lot of flavor. They are opaque, with no contact between the product and light, reduced contact with air after opening, reducing oxidation and increasing the product's lifespan.
Meia.dúzia® jams in tubes are number 1 in the world and were awarded with flavor and innovation awards in 2014 and 2016 in Madrid at Salón Gourmet, ITQI Superior Taste Award 2015 and 2016 in Brussels, and GREAT TASTE in the UK United in 2015 and 2017.
Fig and Orange jam with Cinnamon
5,50€Details Add to cart
This fig jam, variety honey drop, produced in the region of Trás-os-Montes, Portugal, is a sweet, tasty fruit with a consistent pulp, mixed with orange from the Algarve region, a sweet and sour fruit, finished with cinnamon, a spice that for 200 years, the Portuguese controlled the monopoly of commercialization, originated from Sri Lanka.
Ideal for pairing with cheeses such as Serra de Estrela Cheese PDO, Brie de Meaux cheese, Brie de Melun PDO cheese, Gorgonzola cheese (PDO) or Leyden cheese (PGI). Also ideal to accompany Foie-gras, curd cheesecake and desserts.
Fig and Orange jam with Port Wine
5,50€Details Add to cart
This fig jam, variety honey drop, produced in the region of Trás-os-Montes, Portugal, is a sweet, tasty fruit with a consistent pulp, mixed with orange from the Algarve region, a sweet and sour fruit, it is flavored with Port wine, liqueur wine, produced in the Douro Valley Portugal, being one of the most appreciated liqueur wines in the world.
Ideal for pairing with cheeses, goat cheese Transmontano PDO, Brie de Meaux cheese, Brie de Melun PDO cheese, Gorgonzola PDO cheese and roasted pork dishes. Also ideal to accompany foie-gras, curd cheesecake and desserts.
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