Dried Fig is my number one natural sweet snack due to its natural sweetness. It becomes a great dessert when paired with walnuts. You can even stuff them with walnuts and take to your work for a healthy snack during breaks.
I want to introduce the kinds of dried fruits in Turkey in my blog and dried fig will be the first today. Dried fruits have an important place in Turkish kitchen, I don’t know if other cultures have the same habit of getting prepared for Winter during Summer. In Summer, people in Turkey are just like ants as they love spending time on kitchen preparations for Winter. What are these preparations? They dry fruits, vegetables, they make pepper paste and tomato paste and dry it under sun. They make the utmost benefit from the sun as the climate is so convenient for drying things. However, those living in big cities don’t have a chance of doing these at home, so they buy from a supermarket or go buy it from villages nearby. As you all know, buying something from its origin is always the best.
Dried fruits are used in different ways. They can be used in compotes (stewed fruit), in cakes, in desserts, in some dishes or they can even be comsumed plain.
Mom brought these dried figs you see in the picture from Aydin, the city of Turkey which is famous for its figs. She bought them from villagers at bazaar, so they are all natural unlike the ones sold in supermarkets.
Tons of figs are sent to other cities of Turkey and all around the world from Aydin. As you know, fig is a Summer fruit and when I was a child, I used to look forward to climbing its tree and eating kilos of fig on it in Summers. Its leaves make you itch, but it didn’t matter for me as a child.
Towards the end of Summer, people in Aydin start to dry figs for winter. They pick figs and lay them on a piece of cloth in a field and these figs start to dry under sun and then they are coated with flour to prevent any decays. Dried figs are as tasty as the fresh ones, so these are like a kind of dessert even plain. And you can eat them as a healthy snack between meals. Moreover, it has also several benefits for our health. It is rich in proteins and vitamins which renew cells in the body. It helps our digestion system with its fibrous structure, protects our body from bacterium, reduces the level of cholesterol in blood.
Although it has a large amount of sugar in it, it’s not harmful as it’s all natural sugar. Doctors recommend those who hate milk to eat dried fig, which contains the necessary calcium for health. People with diabetes should eat it carefully though.
In Winter people generally consume dried figs plain or with walnuts, they make jam of it, they make desserts of it, or they use it in cakes. We love dried figs so much that we always have a jar of them on the kitchen table to reach easily whenever we crave for a snack or dessert. So dried fig can replace candies, chocolate or other junk food.
There is an idiom in Turkish culture: to plant a fig tree in one’s yard. It means to make something very bad for someone, to give harm to someone. The reason behind this idiom is that roots of a fig tree are very strong and they can spread easily. If we imagine that someone plants a fig tree in your yard, your house will collapse soon because of the roots of the tree.