December 26, 2020 by Ebastores editorial team
Updated August 9, 2021
Top 7 dry figs health benefits
There is no doubt that figs are not just a delicious fruit; It has many health benefits for the body as well. One of the benefits of dried figs full of vitamins and minerals is that it helps the body get rid of many diseases. And all types of dried figs deserve to be eaten.
The fig tree may have been around from the dawn of domesticated agriculture. Archeological remains unearthed in various geographical areas proved the plantation of this tree thousands of years ago. Iraq, Syria, and Palestine are among the first Arab countries known for cultivating common figs and transporting the habit to North African and Asian countries. Then, it spread across the Mediterranean Basin; in this region, the fig trees thrived thanks to favorable climatic conditions such as rainy winters, high-temperature degrees during summer, and fertile soil.
The fig tree yields sweet honey-flavored fruits that can be eaten either fresh or dried. The fresh fruit is delicate and can perish very quickly after the harvest. That’s why people started drying figs to keep them for long periods. Dried figs can last for a whole year or even more without losing the taste or the nutritional value. Probably this is the reason all religions had high regard for this plant. Prophet Mohammed, reportedly, said that the fig tree is the only tree he wishes to see in heaven. Buddha chose a fig tree to sit under and meditate on. This tree symbolizes fertility, peace, and prosperity.
Figs are rich in dietary fiber, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and iron. They are a source of antioxidants and other minerals. Thanks to the compounds found in this fruit, dried and fresh figs have the potential to cure illnesses and improve the immune system. They contain the necessary elements to help in weight management, lowering blood pressure, promoting heart and bone health, inhibiting constipation, and regulating blood sugar. The health benefits of figs are numerous and beyond imagination.
The fig tree is a mystical secret that has shaped human history through different civilizations. People think it is the forbidden tree that caused the expulsion of Adam and Eve from heaven. The fig tree certainly can seduce anyone with the sweetness of its phenomenal fruit. Dried figs are a treasure to possess for their health benefits; they can be a simple snack at any time of the day or a great addition to any dish you wish. Although all types of figs can be dried, few specific varieties would produce good quality dried fruits.
His Majesty, The figs of Tunisia
Have you been to Tunisia? Did you take a tour in many Southern regions? Have you noticed any fig trees around? If no is your short answer; let us take you on a short voyage to Southern Tunisia and discover, his majesty, the figs of Tunisia. I still remember my mom getting up early in the morning just to collect figs from our trees. Every summer, during the harvest of figs, she gets her basket and starts to collect different types from different trees. My mom is just one example of many people around us. During the fig’s harvest, many Tunisians seize this opportunity to produce their home-made fig jams and to prepare dried figs for cold winter. Dried figs became an essential ingredient to combat the cold days of winter. Tunisians have accustomed to combine “Bssissa” and figs to get a stronger immune system. According to Tunisian’s ancestors, dried figs are considered to be a miraculous cure for many diseases.
Why dried Figs?
Nature has provided us with several remedies. Dried figs are an example to cite. Growing figs at home are very auspicious to Tunisians. Back to their Holy book, Quran, fig trees are medicinal to many chronic diseases. Combining both olive oil and dried figs are seen as a cure yet to be discovered by recent researchers. If you are looking for an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, dried figs are your new supplements.
Figs are packed with many antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. Unquestionably, these fruits are a delicious choice. Dig into the following health benefits of dried figs.
Dry figs health benefits
Promote Weight Loss
High fiber foods help with promoting weight loss.
Fiber constitutes an essential part of our diet. This marvelous fruit is very beneficial for our digestive system. The fiber in dried figs curbs hunger, which in turn, helps reduce total food intake. As Harvard Health Publishing points out, high-fiber diets not only improve weight control but may also protect against heart disease and diabetes. You are a sugar addict and cannot get rid of many artificial sweeteners, do not panic, figs are your new natural supplier of sugar. When consumed in moderation, these sweet fruits may serve to be a good and healthier sweetener. Dried figs are naturally sweet and contain no added sugars.
Manage Blood sugar levels
In 2018, the Journal of Ethnopharmacology indicated that several “Ficus species, including the common fig, may reduce blood glucose levels and improve insulin response.
Dried figs are a natural remedy for constipation. Thanks to its fiber content, this fruit maintains a healthy digestive system. When consumed regularly, dried figs help in easing digestion.
Healthier skin and hair
If you are eating well, you will shine. Beauty starts from the inside out. What you eat has a direct impact on the appearance of your hair, skin, and nails. Dried figs constitute an essential supplement to hair growth. Hair loss is a common problem for all adults and teens. Because of the lack of proper nutrients, people suffer from this achy problem. Figs are rich with essential vitamins like magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamin E that promote hair growth. Have three pieces of dried figs daily and say goodbye to hair loss.
The human body needs around 1000mg of calcium per day. Figs are very rich in calcium and phosphorus. It encourages the formation of bones and spurs its regrowth in case there is any damage. Consuming dried figs is advisable to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Rejuvenate Your Skin
Thanks to its nutritional vitamins and minerals, figs can treat many skin issues such as eczema. A face mask made of mashing figs with yogurt and honey; this nourishing face mask is rich with antioxidants that make your skin glowing like a Hollywood actress.
Boosts Heart Health
Figs are advisable to treat many chronic diseases if consumed in moderation. This fruit reduces the level of triglycerides in the body. Triglycerides cause heart diseases. Thanks to fig’s antioxidants, the human body can get rid of free radicals.
Nutritional Benefits of Figs
Dried figs are one of the most popular dried fruits in the world. This marvelous fruit is very beneficial to the human body because of its valuable nutrients. However, we should, first of all, distinguish between both fresh and dried figs’ nutritional values. Healthline magazine has shown the difference in the following table.
|*********||Raw figs||Dried figs|
|Calories||74 kcal||249 kcal|
|Protein||0.75 g||3.3 g|
|Lipids||0.3 g||0.93 g|
|Dietary fiber||2.9 g||9.8 g|
|Sugar||16.26 g||47.92 g|
|Calcium||35 mg||162 mg|
|Iron||0.37 mg||2.03 mg|
|Magnesium||17 mg||68 mg|
|Phosphorus||14 mg||67 mg|
|Potassium||232 mg||680 mg|
|Vitamin C||2 mg||1.2 mg|
|Folate||6 mcg||9 mcg|
|Choline||4.7 mg||15.8 mg|
|Vitamin A||7 mcg||0 mcg|
|Beta-carotene||85 mcg||6 mcg|
|Lutein and zeaxanthin||6 mcg||32 mcg|
|Vitamin K||4.7 mcg||15.6 mcg|
For further information, kindly have a look at the following link.
To sum up, figs are very beneficial to our health. It is a nutritious fruit that constitutes a source of fiber and calcium. People can eat it fresh or dry. Diabetes should take it in moderation as it contains more calories and sugar.
How to eat dried figs?
Dried dates and figs can be best served as snacks. If you want to treat yourself well, dried figs could be your new sweetener to add to your cakes, smoothies, and milkshakes.
We should always rinse dried figs before having them. You can also have it directly without adding it to any recipe. A small handful of dried figs can melt your hunger away. Some Indian people prefer to soak dried figs in the water and have it either on an empty stomach or during snack break.
How many dried figs can I eat per day?
The answer depends on you. If you are following a strict diet, dried figs can be your new sweetener instead of the sugar intake. Many dieticians advise their patients to have it as a morning snack. It is advisable to limit the portion intake to 3 pieces a day.
What is the best time to have dry figs?
In India, this magical fruit has been used for medicinal purposes as a laxative. It is a good cure for Piles. Soaking 2 dried figs in hot water at night and have it first in the morning can relieve you from constipation. You can also have it during your snacks break. Figs are rich in magnesium, a mineral directly linked to helping you fall asleep peacefully and saying a final goodbye to Insomnia.
Types of figs
Figs are very nutritious fruits packed with many minerals and vitamins. Many Tunisians prefer to grow these fruits in their homes and gardens. It is a blessed tree according to their culture and religion. Thanks to their health benefits, figs can be taken as a natural remedy for many chronic diseases. The harvest of figs lasts for three months (June to September).
Black Mission figs: It has dark purple skin and pinkish flesh. Its name goes back to the Missionary fathers who first introduced this fruit to America.
Brown Turkey: it contains purplish skin and red flesh. This fig is sold either fresh or dried.
Adriatic figs: This type of fig is mainly grown in the Mediterranean basin. This fruit has light green skin and pale pink flesh. It has a high sugar content that makes the best choice to make your favorite fig jam and bars.
Kadota figs: This marvelous fruit has greenish-yellow skin and purple flesh and is seedless. Its color turns to a light golden color when dried.
Calimyrna figs: the Calimyrna is the California version of the Smyrna (Cali Myrna = Calimyrna)., Calimyrna has a very delicious nutlike flavor and tender, golden skin, making them the most popular dried fig in the world.
Smyrna figsbelong to the same family as the Calimyrna. You cannot find this type in California like the Calimyrna.
The above fig varieties are usually available dried, though the more popular types are Black Mission, Calimyrna, and Kadota. Americans prefer to consume these magical fruits as dried nuts and combine them with their snacks. After the fig harvest, these fruits last for a week. Preserving it in the fridge cannot be a durable option unless you want to make a delicious jam. However, 90 percent of the figs are dried for longevity. Thanks to its vitamin B6, vitamin E, potassium, and antioxidant phytochemicals, dried figs offer a dense nutritional package.
In markets, you can occasionally find what are called Greek figs that have been dried and flattened into disks, then strung on a long reed. According to biblical times, these strings were carried by travelers as a source of energy.
Fig fruits are so delicate that they quickly deteriorate. With a relatively short harvesting season, ancient fig cultivators sought to find a way to preserve this extremely delicious sweet fruit. Then, they came up with the idea of drying figs. Dried figs can last all year round and they maintain their nutritional value. Wondering how or how much can you eat? There should be no hesitation when desiring this tasty fruit. It is rich in fiber, minerals, and gluten-free! It can be a satisfying snack on its own or can be added to salads or cooked meals such as cookies and cakes.
Pliny said that “Figs are restorative. They are the best food that can be eaten by those who are brought low by long sickness and are on the way to recovery. They increase the strength of young people, preserve the elderly in better health, and make them look younger with fewer wrinkles”.
Does this seem interesting enough for you? Wait to hear more. Keep scrolling and discover some of the best varieties of dried figs.
A brief history of figs:
History archives and orally transmitted stories indicate that the plantation of the fig trees goes back to ancient civilizations. It is believed that southern Arabia is the first home of this tree. Then, it spread to Syria and the Mediterranean coast. While Greek mythology pictures the fig tree as a sacred plant revered in the Dionysian worship and has various folktales relating it to gods; the actual history of edible figs began with their cultivation in the Mediterranean basin. Indeed, all civilizations recorded the importance of figs in the daily lives of their respective citizens; the fruit evolved from a luxury for the rich to the poor’s daily food.
The best-dried figs in the world:
• Black mission figs: named after the Franciscan missionaries who first planted this variety, in the eighteenth century, in California. These figs are a bit smaller and darker than their Turkish counterpart. They have a pink pulp and a purple-colored skin that turns black when dried. The savory flavor and the gummy texture are unbelievable.
• Turkish Calimyrna figs: originally named Smyrna figs, as the famous Turkish city, later altered to Calimyrna as farmers in California began to cultivate this variety. They are pale green and sometimes yellow. When dried, they are bestowed with a golden tan, which renders them highly attractive to the eye.
• Xera Syka Kymis: they are grown on Eva Island, in the municipality of kymi, Greece. They are treated with sulfur vapors and left later to dry in the sun. A final process involves putting them back together and washing them with hot water, then left under the sun for about a day.
• Xira Syka Taxiarchi: they are a variety from the Smyrna figs, cultivated in Greece. Growing in a favorable Mediterranean climate with long sunshine hours, this type produces sweet fruits with a honey-like aroma.
Dried figs in Turkey:
Turkey is the leading country in producing and exporting dried figs. It is responsible for providing 75% of the world’s needs for this fruit. Turkish business associations divide the crops according to shape and packaging. The following is a list of the Turkish products:
- Lerida is the most common worldwide. These figs are flat and rounded. They are usually put on top of each other or side by side.
- Pulled are those fruits with domed tops and square bottoms.
- Protoben figs are aligned superposing while concealing their stems. They have rather a loose shape.
- Garland figs are packed in the form of Lerida. They are round in shape.
- Layer figs are cut in halves near the stems. They are packed by pressing three or four layers together.
- Baglama figs are kept in their natural shape and tied from their stems.
- Diced figs are chopped in cubic shapes with rice flour
- Fig Paste is like jam and it can be used the same way as any fruit jam.
These varieties are all organic products. They enjoy global renown and have an outstanding reputation thanks to the high quality of the Calimyrna figs. The white matter on the outer part of figs that can be sometimes noticed is not a chemical substance; it is rather a natural sign of the glucose specific to the fruit.
Fig plantation is mainly widespread in the Büyük and Küçük Menderes basins of the Aegean region. There can be found the perfect soil and climate conditions for this plant. It demands rainy winters and high-temperature degrees during summer, especially during the harvest season from July to September. These characteristics are relevant to provinces such as Aydin, Bursa, Izmir, Mersin, Hatay, Balıkesir, Antalya, and Gaziantep. Seventy percent of these regions’ fresh fig production is kept for drying which makes it the biggest reservoir of this super sweet treat.
Traditional Turkish fig cultivars are still very much appreciated with the two varieties meant specifically for drying being Sarilop, Divrek Kara, and Sari Zeybek. Different study documents describe Turkish dried figs as having “unique qualities, including a soft texture, natural color, honey flavor, and pleasant smell.” Probably that’s why Turkey conquered the European market and began to expand to the Russian, Chinese, and Arab markets.
Harvesting fresh figs for drying is done in intervals. The fruits are not picked from the trees, rather farmers wait until the fruits ripen and fall to the ground on their own. Later they are left to dry under the sun for about three days and then transported to warehouses for more processes and packaging.
Companies like Natura and Izmir Organic are among the leading Turkish exporters of good quality organic conventional dried figs.
Dried fig production in North Africa
Turkey is followed in production by Egypt, Algeria, Syria, Morocco, and Tunisia, though the latter does not export as much as it produces. Tunisia ranked sixth in the exportation of dried figs in 2014, while the greatest amount of the crop goes to local consumption.
Various historical references mention Syria as the first origin of the fig tree. Egypt and Iraq are also believed to be ancient homes to this fruit. Archeological remains prove these hypotheses; remains were found in Palmyra in Syria and Babylon in Iraq. From there the seeds were transported to North Africa and Asian countries.
The Mediterranean climate provides favorable conditions for fig plantation. This tree can withstand severe climatic conditions like low rates of rain and high temperature. It can be cultivated in mountains and rocky areas and can also bloom in arid lands. There exist several cultivars in each Arab country. The Arab Center for the Study of Arid Zones and Dry Lands, located in Syria, works hard to preserve around one hundred genetic types of figs. Efforts are made to expand the cultivation and improve the production of fig fruits.
North African countries have an established reputation for growing fig trees and producing dried figs. Morocco has relatively a low production rate. The harvests are used mainly for fresh consumption or for making fig jam. The remaining crop allocated for drying usually does not meet the international standards for dried figs. The fruits are heterogeneous and small in size with a noticeable presence of insects. In some growing places, production is not offered for sale due to low prices and poor routes. It remains for self-consumption. More attention to quality standards is required to improve the services provided in this section.
Algeria, on the other hand, produces excellent figs. Studies have been made to highlight the importance of antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of Algerian figs, naming specifically two varieties of “Azendjar” and “Taamriout”. Algeria is the third exporter of dried figs with more than one hundred fifty million tons in recent years.
Nicknamed his majesty the fig of Djebba, “Bohouli” reigns supreme over the fig production in Tunisia. However, multiple varieties exist, such as “Zidi”, “Soltani”, “Goutti”, “Ahmer”…etc. It is the only variety that enjoys an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) from the Tunisian ministry of agriculture. This designation of origin is given for a combination of physical and biological environments mixed with the traditions of local communities. This variety, named after the traditional women's gown, is used in different recipes. There are annual competitions where women compete to prepare the best dish with fresh or dried Bohouli figs. This area has been receiving governmental and international support leading to remarkable growth and improvement in production and trading. Such efforts should be bestowed upon other areas cultivating fig trees in Tunisia; only this way can help improve a cornerstone of the economy and an agricultural section full of potential.
The exact list of cultivars in Tunisia is not yet possible to narrow down due to a lack of research and specific statistics. However, there has been an analysis and classification of fifty ecotypes originating in Tunisia by the IRA Medenine in collaboration with biology and agriculture-related institutes. Some scientific resources mention the following varieties as predominant in the southern part of Tunisia, "Zidi", "Sawoudi", "Magouliekchine", "Hami" and "Kahli" correspond to black varieties, "Bayoudi", "Besbassi", "Bither", "Makbech", "Chaâri", "Magouli" and "Naasan" are green ones, while the red ones include "Minouri", "Hamouri", "Ragoubi", "Weldeni" and "Croussi".
A study carried out by the Institute of Arid Regions focused on locally cultivated samples. The results showed that Tunisian figs are characterized by the presence of five phenolic compounds: “three hydroxycinnamic acids (3-O-and 5-O-caffeoylquinic acids and ferulic acid), one flavonol glycoside (quercetin-3-O-rutinoside), and one free flavonol (quercetin).” These compounds are vital for human nutrition and have numerous benefits. Another important fact concerning the Tunisian varieties that were studied is that they showed great ability to scavenge superoxide, which causes multiple pathological conditions such as damage in the neurological and cardiovascular systems.
The demand for dried figs in Tunisia is always higher than the supply; an issue now addressed during festival meetings, academic and governmental seminars. This North African country has the perfect suitable climatic conditions for fig plantation. It enjoys rainy winters with almost stable temperature degrees and hot summer days. The crop is traditionally handled and passed down through generations hence it is liable to expect professional treatment of the fruits during the harvesting and drying processes. Despite producing world-class quality figs, Tunisia does not rank among the first three countries conquering international markets. This is partially due to the high local demands for dried figs. This fruit is an essential staple of Tunisian cuisine hence most crops go to national consumption. However, the Tunisian dried figs have the potential to compete with their Turkish counterparts which are internationally appreciated. Especially with the problems facing the Turkish plantation due to the decrease of production in the lowlands and relocation of fig farms to high mountains with poor soil, Tunisian figs can fill in the void.
Where to buy dried figs from?
Wondering about where to find good quality dried figs? What are the closest markets near you selling figs?
First and foremost, you need to be careful when choosing your product; not all brands are as good as they advertise their goods. You have to pay attention to the origin of figs and whether they meet the international standards or not.
Your first destination is Walmart, the place where you can nearly find anything you want. Other shops can also be listed as the place to save you in your search, Lakeview Market in Chicago is one such place.
Nevertheless, in case you could not find any markets or shops selling dried figs, or you are just not the type who enjoys long rides looking for what you desire, then the solution for you is to check one of the various online markets. Amazon is surely listed first, followed by Nuts. You can also check the Sadra website, and the list goes on. Natura is one company that specialized in selling Turkish dried figs.
Ebastores Corporation, a brand-new Tunisian startup, is now providing good quality local dried figs. Ebastores brings you your order right to your doorsteps.
Why Tunisian figs?
Tunisia is very famous for many exotic and organic products. Its climate seduces many international companies to discover the green land called “Tounes Khadra”. The choice of Tunisian products is ranked among the first nominated countries worldwide. Olive oil and harissa are clear examples to cite. The Mediterranean weather and the rich soil made it a favorable place to grow organic crops of many European and international origins. Tunisian figs are unique to the Mediterranean region. Tunisia is more than just a beautiful country to discover. It is a magical pot for many beneficial organic products you have never thought of. If you are vegan and thinking about your organic products, don’t think twice, our Tunisian products can be your discovery.