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Sweet. Succulent. Sensual.

July 2, 2021

yes you fruit-lovers the delectable attributes describe one of the oldest fruits rich in nutrition and history, in the world.

Associated with Demeter, the Greek goddess of agriculture and fertility, the fig became a symbol of the fall harvest. She was called “the mistress of the grain.” Demeter in Greek is pronounced as THEE-MEET-EER, with the emphasis placed on the second E. The origins of Demeter’s name can be traced back and translated to mean Mother Earth or the Earth Mother roughly. Demeter was one of the original six Olympians to be born from the Titanese Rhea and then swallowed by Cronus, her father – sounds gross but so the story goes.

The Indian fig tree, or banyan, is sacred in India, and also interwoven with Indian mythology.

Figs originated in Western Asia – the common fig is indigenous to an area extending from Asiatic Turkey to northern India- and made their way to the Mediterranean in prehistoric times. They became one of the very first cultivated fruit trees, probably as early as 4,000 B.C. in Egypt or Arabia. They were worshipped wherever they went, it seemed, often playing symbolic roles relating to sensuality and fertility. 

The varieties of figs grown in various parts of the world run into the hundreds.

Black Mission‘ has a purple to black skin with red flesh and an excellent ‘fig‘ taste

Black Mission Fig tree south africa

Sweet to the taste, the black fig also boasts amazing textures. Great for cooking or just eating the fruit. -yummy

Their nomenclature is very much confused, since the same fig is often grown in neighbouring provinces under entirely different names. When a fig is introduced into other countries, a new name is commonly coined. 

The most decadent, nuanced, creative dessert hardly stands a chance against a perfect fresh fig.

Easy to pick, easy to peel and best eaten fresh under the tree.

The Adam fig tree is one of the oldest figs you can get. They have big green leaves which hide the fruit. 

The Adam fig tree is a unique strain found in South Africa. It’s a strong upright grower and prefers warm climates. Frost is a problem for this tree.

Fig farming in South Africa started around the local production of dried figs and fig jam.

Figs jam taste similar to figs with an intensified sweetness while still preserving the characteristic figgy flavor

Mzansi Fig trees are pruned during our winter months – June through to September.

South Africa is an exporter of fresh figs

In the 2017/18 season South Africa exported 380 tons of figs , which is about 0.12% of the world’s figs. The main importing countries are the UK, Hong Kong and the Netherlands.

Baby fig exports due to start from South Africa.

As with baby vegetables, there is an improvement and a keener interest in baby figs globally, for retail clients in Russia and Switzerland from Mzansi. Also for their wholesale clients and gastronomy specialists in Greece, Holland, Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland and to a lesser extent the UK, as well as Mauritius, Hong Kong and Dubai. So we can see clearly that the fruits of Mzansi are sought after practically all over the world, even in places like Russia, – here the farmer is not complaining, if there is a burning desire for the sweet and sensual Mzansi succulent, they will be packaged and shipped.

Technically, figs are not a fruit but an inverted flower, with more than 1,000 blossoms, or seeds, within each fig.

Ranging in tone from blush to deep magenta, this sticky, seeded flesh is visually stunning. 

Extraordinary in botanical terms, an inverted flower with a collection of unopened blooms lining the inner wall of the delicate sack. Some fig varieties are self-pollinating, while others rely on fig wasps to help those tiny flowers produce hundreds of seeds. This juicy mass of seeds is what we recognize as the fruit’s flesh.

My real fascination with the fig and its leaves and the reason for this page actually stems from the inspiring poem I recently read, written by the fragrant writer including his other tiny masterpieces in fragrance poetry, and so these notes of mine sprouted. You may indulge yourself with the exquisite aroma and scents of the ink which flows from his pen at the following link.

"Take a fig leaf, rub it in the palms of your hands, and then afterwards smell your hands. You will sense the green and crisp vivacity of the breaking stem, the roundness of the fruit that is still ripening in the sun and the freshness of an afternoon in the shade of the branches. Cologne de Figuier is an "olfactory sketch" of this gesture leaving its fragrance on your skin. Based on a fig leaf accord with a zest of bergamot and grapefruit, the vegetal greenness of a galbanum adds a spicy touch of pink pepper. A wood marquetry, with mineral and amber notes, emphasizes the density of the tree, in the background. A fig tree sketched in one stroke by a perfumer, therefore tracing the contours of a bright, green and subtly woody Cologne." - a note from the brand.

Fig perfume is a type of scent that is derived from the extracts of the dried seeds of the fruit or the leaves of the plant. This type of fragrance has a woodsy scent to it, which is heightened by sweet undertones. Most types of fig perfume are made from dried leaves that are crushed and then taken through a distillation process. The resulting extract has a more woodsy scent than fragrances that are made out fig seeds. 


Ripe figs are too soft to travel far, but do not be disheartened, it has the special softness to delight the buds.

A tender, ripe fig is heavy with its own syrupy liqueur, which tends to drizzle out of its base if you wait too long to eat it. The taste is all honey-like sweetness with a subtle hint of berry and fresher shades of the flavor you might recognize from a certain cookie. 

Roasted with meats, poached in wine, tossed with salad greens or baked into desserts, figs add honeyed flavor and lush texture to any dish. They make unusual sweet chutneys and preserves, addictive gelato and an out-of-this world pizza topping when paired with prosciutto.

Enjoy your fig and leaf home- preservation and extracting. I had fun with the ancient fruit that has travelled and found roots throughout the world.

Fig trees represent our earthly nature as co-creators. As a keystone species, the fig awakens our collective memory of belonging to each other. It inspires us to share our creative energy and desires. Figs resemble a woman's womb, signaling that now is a fertile time in our life.

From → Mzansi

  1. An interesting read! I will have this post in mind when it comes time to pick my figs in a few months 😉

  2. Mr V permalink

    Very interesting
    Figs are delicious
    Sweet and succulent
    They remind me of 🤔….

  3. Interesting history, very informative

    Sad we don’t have them in this neck of the woods

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