Thursday, September 13, 2007

Sacred Fruit

Its story starts with ''Adam and Eve''. Accepted as sacred fruit. For many cultures, it has come to represent creation and fertility. One of the oldest fruits known to mankind. A fruit I can really live with. Flavor I shouldn't have to live without! I love them. I love to eat them one after the other like a never-ending melody:) Have a look for those fresh figs taken in our garden:

Nowadays figs (Turkish: Incir) are everywhere here. Because the most-luck finding fresh figs for Turkey is from May to mid-October. There are many, hundreds even, of different kinds of figs in the world. Varieties of fig (Latin: Ficus) are Alma, celeste, the Brown Turkish, Italian black, Italian white, Kadota and the Black Mission. Each one of them remarkably different in appearance. I bet in flavor, too, although I'm not fig-experienced that I can share my wisdom and observations what their unique flavors are:)

These are the figgy facts:

* There are traces that figs were cultivated in their motherland Anatolia in the years of 3000 - 2000 B.C. from where they were spread to the Mediterranean and other parts of the world.

* The fig tree is sacred to Dionysus (The Greek god of wine). In the 15th century, due to development of trade between the Ottoman Empire and the Western powers, the fruit of fig had re-appeared in the all Europe.

* Turkey comes first both in world dried fig production with a share of 50-60% and in world dried fig export with a share of 75%.

* One kilo of fresh figs (counts appr. 17-20 figs) costs 3 Turkish Lira, which means 1,69 Euro or 2,25 USD. In UK markets, it costs 3-4 £ per kg.

* Famous Harrods in UK sells fig under the name of Exotic fruit.

* They are rich in calcium and high in antioxidants.

* Dried figs are mostly consumed for their rich stock of nutrients, minerals, vitamins, low fat and high fibre. That's why sportmen in the Northern countries consume dried figs frequently.

* For the best, figs should be stored, wrapped well or in a covered container in the refrigerator.

As for beauty, we again meet with magic touch of figs. I use this ''Sweet Fig'' Moisturising Hand and Body Cream, that I bought it at one of my favorite stores, Marks&Spencer-UK. It gives a nice, fresh looking glow and to even out skin tone. It doesn't leave you feeling greasy. It's very effective product with a very nice fragrance that is not irritating to the skin. Oh figs.. I'm pleased to have them in my daily life, what a figgy days:)

If jam is your weakness, this will be your undoing;)

There's nothing more relaxing than jams on a beautiful sunday morning:) On sundays, our typical breakfast table is a feast of fresh breads, green and black olives, hard boiled eggs, white cheese, honey and a range home-made of jams made of strawberries, orange and figs that is due to change in accordance to the season.

Put some slices of cheese on bread (or butter), then pour some Fig Jam on it. This is the way I love to have it, give it a try:) This delicious jam belongs to the Aegean Region of the country, as do grape and mastic jams.

Now I'm bringing the Fig Jam recipe and thought I would share:

We use baby figs that are possible to pick by the first week of every may. Are you inspired to try this Jam? Well, you have to patiently wait until next May:)

~ Ingredients

1 kg sugar
1 tablespoon of lemon juice

10 cloves

100 wild (baby) figs

Ready-to-use Fig bags includes 100-skin off figs inside. To be sold in the local markets as of the spring, at a price of only 2 TLiras (=1,12 Euro), incredibly cheap:) If you want to skin the green figs by your own, it's advisable using gloves in order to avoid your hands from getting dark. Cook them in plenty of water for some time. Rinse in cold water. Squeeze each fig gently.
Boil sugar with about three glasses of water to a thick syrup. When ready add figs and cook on medium heat until figs let go water and absorb it again. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, boil for one minute and take off fire. If desired, you may add clove or vanilla to give more flavour. And there you have it:)

Finished fig jam looks like the close-up of the photo above: an appearance like ''Crystal drops'', that is very appetizing. Here is a selection from Turkish pastries made with dried figs, that all are tasty, so tasty!

I am happy spreading the Fig love:) Always do what you love;)


  1. Welcome to blogland, Nihal. It is a pleasure to here about you again.
    You are writing a very interesting blog.

  2. We have friends in France who have their own fig tree and when we are there and the figs are good we eat them right from the tree.
    Enjoy your weekend !!

  3. Nihal,

    I noticed your comment on the Make Mine Pink blog. It's a shame you didn't come in earlier and post a photo of Turkish tea. I visited Istanbul a number of years ago, and still wish I had purchased a tea set. They are so beautiful and have such a special character of their own.

    Your blog is very creative and demonstrates your talent well. You are welcome to stop by mine anytime.


  4. @ Zita: How nice to see you again but this time chez-moi:) Always welcome.

    @ Annelies: You're right about commenting on figs. That fig-tree is in the garden and I do not need to climb for picking them. Just nearby our balcony and lie down even inside. How enjoyable to pick the fresh figs from its bough at first-easy jump. Dolce Vita:)

    @ Tracy: Thanks a lot for your kind visiting to my new journal and your motivating comments as well:) It would be my pleasure to post any photo of our traditional Turkish tea set when or if you need. Better late than never, as it is said:) Regarding the purchase of any tea set, needless to get worry. Yes, ours is specifically designed glass set together with its characteristic teapot. Those unique items only a part of this country's culture. I could be helpful to you with no hesitation. Just let me know, that's enough:) Lovies & Have a blessed Sunday.

  5. hi nihal, i love your fig post they are my favorite fruit remembering my years in northern africa. i'm always looking for the delightful marmelade. however, here in the netherlands they are considered as a luxury item. check this; 1 fig costs about e.1,- over here :((

  6. Hi Nihal:
    I came to visit from Marita's blog as I grew up in Central California, USA with a fig tree in the back yard. I would pick the over ripe figs that fell to the ground and eat them : ) A child knows nothing of dirt; just the warm, soft, sweet fig I could so easily pick up off the ground : )
    Luckily for me they are very inexpensive in California.
    Thank you for the recipe; I will try it soon.

  7. Figgie goodness. I think I see some fig jam in my future even if it means waiting until the spring.

    I too found you through Marita's blog. I'll be back frequently.


  8. @ Marita: Bienvenue! Luxury item in the NL? I did not know it before. well, everything has its own solution;) Take a flight and come to the heaven of figs: Turkey. Thanks for your visit, come again:)

    @ Carole: Welcome to my blog:) Sounds like funny that you, too, had a enjoyable days with figs in your childhood like myself:) A great luck that it's not expensive also in sunny California. I bet you'll be delighted with my fig recipe. It worths:) Very easy one. Any question you might have, then ask me pls. Greetings and lovies.

    @ Darla: Smiling hello to you:) Thanks for your visit on my blog. Waiting until the spring? Time flies quickly and a bit patience;) Everytime welcome here! All the best.