Ficus Carica, the common fig, are widely known throughout the world. A member of the Moraceae family, more commonly called the Mulberry or Fig family, figs originated in Western Asia sometime around 5000 BC. One of the earliest known appearances of the fig in recorded history was in Sumer, located at the eastern end of the “Fertile Crescent” just north of the Arabian Desert, around 2700-2300 BC.
This sweet juicy fruit has played a large role in our history, making appearances in the writings of Homer, Catos conquest of Carthage and even in the death of Cleopatra (she was killed by an asp carried to her within a basket of figs). Throughout the bible, figs have a very important role. They are mentioned right off the bat, Adam and Eve covered themselves with the leaves of a fig tree after they ate from the tree of knowledge. Figs were present at the famous last supper, and are often associated with abundance and fertility.
Figs were also widely used in Egypt and Greece as a food stable amongst the rich and poor alike. For thousands of years, long before refined sweeteners, figs have been used to flavor savory and sweet dishes. I found this simple and delightful recipe for Fig Cakes while doing my research for this post. I can’t wait to try it! I chose this recipe because it was something made in history, and also uses dried figs which are easier for the common person to get their hands on. If you are lucky enough to have access to fresh figs why not give this recipe a try. Found on http://featured.chefmom.com
Fresh Fig Salsa
Makes 2 cups
Fruit salsas in the summer can’t be beat. This salsa, made with sweet figs and mango, can elevate the taste of any grilled meats, poultry or seafood.
2 cups (about 1 pound) fresh firm-ripe figs, stemmed, diced
2 fresh green onions, sliced crosswise
2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, coarsely chopped
1 cup peeled and diced mango
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
2 teaspoons grated lime peel
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients and chill several hours to blend flavors. Serve with broiled or grilled fish, chicken, pork, beef or lamb or simply eat with chips for dipping.