Fig is one of the most popular summer fruits in Greece and there is nothing better than eating a fig fresh off the tree. Not only are figs deliciously tasty, but they are also packed with vitamins and nutrients that are beneficial to our wellbeing.
And although we tend to associate figs with warmer months, the great news is we are also able to gain the benefits of figs throughout the entire year in their dried form.
History of Figs in Greece
Ancient Greeks believed figs symbolised prosperity and peace and were especially valued in the region of Attica. The ruler of Attica, Solon, also recognized the worth of the fig and even deemed it illegal to export figs outside of Greece in order to reserve the sweet fruits for the local population. Today, the region of Attica is still known for its fig cultivation, and Markopoulo Mesogaias is a town within the region that is most famous for its fresh figs. In Markopoulo, some royal fig varieties were given a protected geographical indication (PGI) in 1996 by the European Union.
Figs Produced in Greece
Cultivating figs since ancient times, Greece is one of the largest producers of figs in the world and grows these small fruits for both fresh consumption and dried use. They come in the form of dried figs, jams, and pastes. There are many different varieties of figs that are found under the Greek fig label, including Black figs, Royal figs, and Red figs- depending on the specific growing regions across Greece. Though Greek figs vary in colour, size, and flavour, they are all available locally and worldwide.
Benefits of Greek Dried Figs
Whether eating flavourful dried figs as a snack or adding it into your recipes, dried figs are an excellent source of dietary fibre, as they include essential minerals such as potassium, iron and calcium, and are rich in health-promoting antioxidants and complex carbohydrates. Greek figs can stimulate digestion and are a highly alkaline food, which helps balance pH levels within the body and also boost and strengthen the immune system.
Figs of Evia
Today Greek figs are widely cultivated across Greece- especially in the areas of Markopoulo, Kalamata and Evia. These delicious figs come from small family farms in the northern area of the island of Evia- a region that is famous for the quality of its figs. These moist and delicious fruits are organically farmed and naturally sun-dried. They are 100% organic with no additives or preservatives. What makes the dried Evia figs so special is the drying method- as the fresh figs are split in two before the exposure under the sun and are then brought back together to form the “askada” when dried.