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Old 01-17-2007, 08:18 PM   #1
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Figs and vegeterianism

Question: are figs by and large considered vegetarian? It may seem an odd question, but consider the way figs are produced. The fig wasp crawls inside the fig, pollinates the flowers, and lays its eggs. The eggs hatch, the young mate. The males eat holes in the fruit to let the females out, who then escape and lay eggs in other figs. But the males die and remain inside the fig as it ripens. Ergo the crunch and "nutty" flavor.
But I see figs in so many vegetarian recipes and magazines, I have to wonder if I've really got all the facts. Are there some commercially viable cultivars that don't require pollination? I know at least one such mutant variety exists, but I've never heard of it being used by professional fig growers, only in horticulture. So what's the deal? Am I missing something or has no one else been clued in on this?

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Old 01-17-2007, 08:23 PM   #2
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Old 01-17-2007, 09:06 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crdieguez
Question: are figs by and large considered vegetarian? It may seem an odd question, but consider the way figs are produced. The fig wasp crawls inside the fig, pollinates the flowers, and lays its eggs. The eggs hatch, the young mate. The males eat holes in the fruit to let the females out, who then escape and lay eggs in other figs. But the males die and remain inside the fig as it ripens. Ergo the crunch and "nutty" flavor.
But I see figs in so many vegetarian recipes and magazines, I have to wonder if I've really got all the facts. Are there some commercially viable cultivars that don't require pollination? I know at least one such mutant variety exists, but I've never heard of it being used by professional fig growers, only in horticulture. So what's the deal? Am I missing something or has no one else been clued in on this?
The question to ask a vegetarian is: Are insects considered meat?

Oh, and thanks for turning me off to figs forever.
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Old 01-17-2007, 10:24 PM   #4
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Am I missing something or has no one else been clued in on this?

I can suggest an answer to this--but you need to consult a vegetarian message board (or perhaps someone here will also answer). BUT in the light of this,you may have thrown a HUGE monkey wrench into the vegan (not just vegetarian) community, since I don't know a single vegetable that can happen without the intervention of an "animal"/bee.
And lest ANYone construe me as being anti-vegetarian, fugggeddaboutit. I can cook vegetarian for my several friends VERY handsomely, and for a former DIL--more healthy than even they. It is a good way of life.
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Old 01-18-2007, 05:14 AM   #5
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crdieguez, what a contentious thread you have started!!! Now the Dried Fig Promotion Board has been left with no other choice but to sue.
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Old 01-18-2007, 06:23 AM   #6
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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?
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Old 01-18-2007, 08:08 AM   #7
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The dried figs will also have dried (drier) seeds--hence the crunch? I think I am hard pressed to discern a nutty flavor in something as sweet as a fig.
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Old 01-18-2007, 08:59 AM   #8
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I will continue to enjoy figs....raw, preserves, conserves, strawberry figs, and the list goes on....Enjoy!
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Old 01-18-2007, 01:21 PM   #9
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Wasps, huh? Is that where the cliché "I don't give a flying fig" comes from?
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Old 01-18-2007, 05:08 PM   #10
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I'd say that from now on, it would be advisable for vegetarians to only eat 50% of the fig. This way, they may, or may not eat some of the insect and :
"Half a bee,
Philosophically,
Must ipso facto,
Half NOT be..."
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