|Gouache painting on map by Nancy MacAlpine|
Growing up in Canada meant that I wasn't acquainted with all the fruit and vegetables that the rest of the world enjoyed. There may have been dry figs but I was not introduced to those either. When I did see a fig I decided, from their appearance, that they would be rather nasty. Once, as a community nurse,when visiting a patient she insisted I take some ripe figs from their tree. I didn't want to take them but she would not take no as an answer. I tasted them, was blown away by the beautiful rich, sweet taste and have been a fan ever since. I look forward to late summer when they are in season and are a reasonable price at the fruit shop. In the suburb in which I live there are many people of Greek descent who have fig trees in their garden. You see them netted to stop the parrots, possums and probably any number of creatures who would want to feast on such a delicious fruit. Each fig "fruit" is actually an enclosed flower head containing many tiny flowers and seeds.
|Collage of Figs by Nancy MacAlpine|
Figs are an ancient fruit which were recorded on Sumerian stone tablets dated back to 2500 BC. They were mentioned in the bible and were said to grow in the garden of Eden.. They were enjoyed by Cleopatra and Ulysses.
If you live in Australia enjoy figs now when they are in season. In Canada, keep an eye out for fresh figs but the dry ones are really good too.