Gettin' Figgy

Posted by Alayne Gardner-Carimi on

Under the Fig Leaves

Inspired by vomFASS Fig Chili Balsam and Fig Balsamic Star products' luxurious flavors and textures, we recently dove into the wide world of figs and came up with a wealth of recipe ideas and other information. As you were growing up, if the only thing you knew about figs was what came wrapped in a soft cookie crust, you’re not alone. Fresh figs are still not found in every grocery store, but this is the time of year they begin to harvest them.

Luscious, sweet figs are among the oldest cultivated fruits, prized for their honeyed flavor and soft, jammy texture. It’s easy to bring their brûlée-like flavor to your culinary creations with vomFASS Fig Chili Balsam and Fig Balsamic Star. vomFASS uses aromatic figs, picked at their peak of ripeness, to create the purest juice. This juice is fermented first into wine and then into vinegar. This fig vinegar is further refined with a bit of thick fig juice to create our lush sweet-sour creation. No aromas, preservatives or sulfites are added—just the rich goodness of figs, and figs with chilies.

For those in the know, vomFASS Fig Chili Balsam and Fig Balsamic Star products are often the “secret” ingredient that make their BBQ’s, Asian dishes, tangy dips and glazes, deserts, and signature cocktails stand out from the rest!

Five Fig Fun Facts

Figs have been in existence for…?
Every day for the past 80 million years, fig trees around the world have been combining their DNA and packing it into trillions upon trillions of seeds. Thus, they have a staggering number of genetic combinations, each one an experiment in the struggle for existence. It’s a struggle which fig trees make look easy.

Figs are hardier than…?
These plants did not just survive the cataclysm which took out the giant dinosaurs like the T-rex. They flourished. As they spread around the globe, they formed hundreds of new species and became the most varied group of plants on the planet. The side effects have been profound. These plants fed our pre-human ancestors and offered other gifts to the creators of the first great civilizations.

Each Fig is not a fruit, it is a…?
The fig is not a fruit at all. It is a sac whose entire inner surface is lined with fruits of nearly 1500 tiny flowers that never see daylight. Over generations, the platforms upon which the flowers stood developed into urn-like figs that hid the blooms away.

Figs are only pollinated by…?
While other plants’ flowers offer up their pollen to all sorts of birds and bees, the fig sends out an aroma that attracts the female of its particular wasp species. Every one of the 800-plus Ficus (fig) species is pollinated by just one or more tiny wasp species that can feed and breed only in their fig-partner’s flowers. The fig and fig-wasp species cannot survive without each other.

Because figs bloom internally, they can’t be pollinated in the same way as other fruits, and that’s where their friend the fig wasp comes in. The wasps enter the fig through a small hole in the base and lay their eggs in the male fig sac, while also spreading pollen among all the figs they visit. The very tiny fertilized female flowers produce one hard-shelled fruit each which is why figs are crunchy inside.

The faithful wasps can travel over great distances, bringing pollen from their birthplace to another tree far away. This allows fig trees to thrive in desolate places instead of just clustering in forests.

The largest single fig tree canopy covers how many acres…?
The banyan tree is a type of strangler fig tree. Like many figs it grows “prop roots” that descend from the branches which nourish and support its canopy. In a remote area southeast of Kadir, India, the Thimmamma Marrimanu banyan tree covers nearly 5 acres. Its 4000-plus prop roots create an impression of multiple trees; however, they all lead back to one tree more that 550 years old. More than 20,000 people could stand together under its canopy.


Fig trees appear in mythologies in the Amazon and in Africa, across the Mediterranean and the Middle East, and from the foothills of the Himalayas to the islands of the South Pacific. They feature in some way in every major religion, starring in the stories of Krishna and Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad. But these are all just recent examples. Fig trees were inspiring, sustaining and even protecting our ancestors long before they invented writing or domesticated the dog. They were among the first plants people cultivated. 

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