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Old 01-18-2007, 06:19 PM   #11
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From what I remember Dad telling me - the bugs are in the male figs, and you only eat the figs from the female trees. He showed me how to tell the difference (we had a few fig bushes in the yard) ... but I've slept since then and don't remember how to tell the difference (that was circa 1960).
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Old 01-18-2007, 07:47 PM   #12
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Verablue is correct.

You are NOT eating insects when you eat figs - dried or otherwise.
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Old 01-18-2007, 08:10 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by VeraBlue
I started looking into this last night with a few easy searches. I'm not quite finished, however. From what I've read, so far, the wasp does it's thing in the flower, not in the actual fruit. The fruit is the result of the flower.
I haven't seen anything, yet, which indicated that there is dead and decaying wasp carcass in the the figs we eat.

Personally, I've never considered a fig to be 'nutty' flavoured. Instead, honeylike and sweet. The crunch is the seeds, not eggshells.


I have read that figs don't require pollination to mature. Non pollinated seeds are soft and hollow, giving the crunch. Pollinated seeds will give a nutty flavour to dried figs. I wonder if there is a connection with drying and nutty flavour?
Note the last sentence in this paragraph from wikipedia:

Most figs come in two sexes: hermaphrodite (called caprifigs from goats - CaprinaeFig wasps grow in caprifigs but not in the other because the female trees' female flower part is too long for the wasp to successfully lay her eggs in them. subfamily; as in fit for eating by goats; sometimes called "inedible") and female (the male flower parts fail to develop; produces the "edible" fig). None-the-less, the wasp pollinates the flower with pollen from the fig it grew up in, so figs with developed seeds also contain dead fig wasps almost too tiny to see. (emphasis mine)

Maybe somebody better versed in botany can interpret this, but it reads to me as if the original poster may have it right.
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Old 01-18-2007, 08:52 PM   #14
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Goodness - diehard vegetarians everywhere must be renting their garments at this point - lol!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Think of all that animal protein they consumed without knowing it - lol!!!!!!!!!
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Old 01-18-2007, 09:34 PM   #15
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...of course figs are vegetarian. They grow on trees.

...and, consider all the spiders you swallow in your sleep.
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Old 01-19-2007, 01:08 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by VeraBlue
I have read that figs don't require pollination to mature. Non pollinated seeds are soft and hollow, giving the crunch. Pollinated seeds will give a nutty flavour to dried figs. I wonder if there is a connection with drying and nutty flavour?
Quite an inundation responses... Anyway, this is precicely what confused me: do fig growers use these cultivars that do not require pollination and, if so, how are you supposed to figure it out without extensive research... or taking a bite and finding out if the seeds are hollow or not. All I know for certain is that I was minding my own business one day back in elementary school, sitting in an assembly on insects, when one of the scientists brought it up and said that figs do in fact contain wasp bodies -- and yes, suzyQ3, insects are definately considered meat as they are in fact members of the animal kingdoms. And for those of you who may be grossed out, just think a wasp as a very tiny lobster they're both in the same phylum.
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Old 01-19-2007, 03:15 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by crdieguez
... how are you supposed to figure it out .....
it was when I read the word FIGure that my sides actually started to hurt with the laughter

I am not vegetarian but I guess that most are trying not to purposely inflict suffering and if a wasp is unknowingly in their fig they can't help it. I am the first person to agree we need to think ethically about food source- its one of my big topics!, but I will be eating figs....one presumes these wasps are all free range?
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Old 01-22-2007, 09:29 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by lulu
I am not vegetarian but I guess that most are trying not to purposely inflict suffering and if a wasp is unknowingly in their fig they can't help it.
I disagree. It's become quite a common and unfortunate stereotype that vegeterians are all pro animal rights or care about animal suffering at all, actually. Honestly, a lot of us -- myself included -- just don't like to eat meat the way some people don't like liver or pig knuckles: it's just plain gross. And then there are also those who are vegetarian for dietary reasons, religious reasons, and the list goes on. I'm not saying there aren't vegetarians who chose their diet because they felt bad for causing animals suffering, but I wouldn't go as to say they are a majority.

But back to figs, I found on the wikipedia entry for "fig wasp" that the fig can have three different types of flowers: male, long female, and short female. Male flowers are only in caprifigs, which we don't eat. Now the long female flowers can be pollinated by the wasp but she can't lay eggs in them, so she simply dies in the fig. Thus these species of fig contain only one dead female. Short female flowers can be both pollinated and she can lay her eggs in them, so those would have both the dead female and the dead male wasps.
As I said before, there are some mutant cultivars of fig where the fruits will develop without fertile seeds. Wikipedia says that such cultivars ae in fact commercially viable and used in some operations. So then I guess this is going to be a long and arduous hunt for companies that exclusively use these varieties Oh well, it's been down before with wine, cheese, beer, and liquor, so I guess it'll just have to be done again.
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Old 01-22-2007, 10:14 PM   #19
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If y'all desire go to my photos and see the beautiful fig tree I had. Love
figs! Bugs and all. The tree has come back but it looks like a bush. I just hope the thin limbs can hold fruit.

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