Where are wild figs from?
When did people start to eat figs?
Many primates eat figs, and people have been eating wild figs since there first were people. People loved figs because figs are a very healthy food.
They’re full of calcium and potassium and fiber, and they also taste delicious. You can dry figs in hot sunshine like raisins and they’ll keep all winter, too. Fig trees produce two crops every year (at least in some climates). Some people also eat the leaves of the fig tree, which is also fine.
When did people farm figs?
Why did people farm figs?
The big advantage to farming figs is that wild figs can only reproduce when tiny wasps get inside the fruit to get the pollen. People can reproduce figs by planting small branches from a tree to grow new trees, and in that way people can eat figs without the tiny wasps inside them.
Figs reach northern Europe
In the first centuries AD, the Romans brought figs with them throughout the Roman Empire – all around the Mediterranean and to northern Europe and England.
Figs come to China
Figs probably first traveled east to China along the Silk Road after the Islamic conquests, as the first time we hear about figs in China is about 700 AD, during the T’ang Dynasty, and then people in China call figs by their Arabic name, “tin”.
Figs in South Africa and the Americas
But it took a long time before people started to farm figs in southern Africa. When Spanish settlers came to Mexico and California from Spain in the 1500s, they brought figs with them and planted them in North America as well.
Bibliography and further reading about figs: