By: Tim Bortoli
Figs are the name of an edible fruit grown on the common fig tree. This tree can reach a height of 10 m (33 ft) and produces fruit twice per year. The fruit has a green skin, which may turn to brown after ripening), and are about 3-5 cm (1.2-2 in) long. Most figs are consumed dried or in products such as fig jelly because the ripe fruit spoils quickly after it is picked. Figs are one of the best plant sources of calcium and dietary fiber, but they also contain good amounts of other nutrients as well. Figs have been grown and eaten for many thousands of years (it is one of the fruits mentioned by name in the Bible). Let’s find out where this fruit originated from and where it is grown today.
Where do figs originate from?
The common fig is native to the Middle East where it has been grown since ancient times. From here it spread all the way to Afghanistan in the east and Portugal in the west. It is well suited to the climate of the Middle East and Mediterranean where it copes well with the relatively poor soil and seasonal drought. During the 15th century the fig was spread into northern Europe and later to the Americas. In the 16th century it was first grown in Britain.
Where are figs grown today?
Today, the fig is grown throughout much of the world. However, the tree continues to thrive in the Middle East and Mediterranean regions. The largest producer of figs is turkey at 280,000 metric tons, followed by Egypt with 170,000 metric tons. Other large producers are found throughout northern Africa, the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Outside of theses regions the United States and Brazil are the largest producers.