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Featured Tips

Why do figs split open?

It seems peculiar.  Why should the fig plant not protect its fruit until the seeds can fall to the ground?  Is splitting open some unusual way of enticing animals to eat the fruit?

Slight splitting shouldn’t put you off eating a fig.  It is actually quite normal and caused by humidity.  Well drained land usually reduces fig splitting bug careful watering can also do the trick.  If the plant gets too much water as it nears the fruiting period,   The fig fruit is an extension of the tree’s stem tissue.  So if it rains, or – more often – at night when evaporation is reduced, the weak structure of the fig fruit just can’t take anymore!  It splits open and you wake up to disappointment!

Have no fear though.  Unless you are infested with insects, freshly split figs are usually extremely tasty and just ripe enough to eat.  So called “heavy” soils can also help reduce fig splitting since they tend to keep a relatively constant level of humidity.  However most fig trees enjoy climates with 7 or more hours of constant sunlight, so it is never easy!  Especially in the morning and the evening, sunlight and heat help get rid of dampness which would otherwise assist insects which damage the tree.

Some fig farmers claim that figs split because of rain hitting the trees.  They even try to cover the fig trees with umbrellas or other systems.  Others claim that particular angles of the branches with figs will keep them from splitting when it rains.  It seems unlikely that it is actually the velocity of the rain drops which would cause figs to split; if this was the case, splitting would occur when we wash them under a tap too.  After all that is much more water!

Figs in containers have been observed to grow too fast when they receive a lot of water, thus causing splitting in the rest of the plant which doesn’t grow as quickly.

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Featured Tips

Do figs ripen after they are picked off the tree?

No, figs don’t ripen after being picked.  So you need to read carefully.  If you are picking the figs yourself make sure they aren’t too hard and that they are easy to remove.  Just lift them gently and they should begin to become unattached or feel ready to leave the tree.

Unripe figs don’t taste anything like ripe figs.  Not sweet and of course as we explained in a previous article much more likely to cause allergies.  Personally I don’t like them over ripe, a bit like bananas.  Some people like them the way they get sweeter when they get sugary ripe.  I love them straight off the tree and eaten whole!

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Technology

Is that an iBanana in your pocket?

…or are you just happy to have an iPhone6 plus that bends?  The latest Apple fiasco is pretty worrying for a number of reasons.   Maybe it isn’t too common.  Could be blown out of proportion by iPhone haters.  I have noticed that in the Android ecosystem negative news about iPhones seem to be promoted by Google in their own news products and they do seem to do better than expected as “trending” or promoted posts in Google Plus.  Much like Tim Cook inherited an Apple which had run out of steam, his new PR team is inheriting a bunch of journalists really annoyed by the fact that for all these years anyone who didn’t write nice things about Apple got cut out of its PR events and information.   Phones being squashed in back pockets are not something new.

What is new is the level of Apple disregard to users’ problems.  Which is pretty ironic seeing as they top customer satisfaction polls.  Or is it?   After all they do it all the time.  But back then Steve Jobs’ aura protected them.  “Just hold it differently” he said for the reception problems.  The man could say “we burn Pentiums to the ground one week” and “Intel is the future” the next and not bat an eyelid.   It would be like a devout Catholic denouncing his faith if Apple users didn’t top user satisfaction polls; that is what they signed up for, a religion.

Well, even the Catholic church is trying to face up to sexual abuse cases nowadays.  But Apple seems to be getting worse in reaction times to problems.   The Maverick OS update also shows an even more worrying trend: the tech press is letting them get away with it.   Blame journalist cut backs if you want or shrinking attention spans with us readers.   But it took way too long for the media to figure out there was something seriously wrong.   This could be because Apple devices simply aren’t used in mission critical situations.  While they remain cool gadgets for Apple fans, they also remain irrelevant to the real world.

Which obviously isn’t something any religion would want us to find out now, is it?

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Featured Health

Why do figs hurt my tongue?

Some people also report having sore gums or their mouth going numb.  This problem is cause primarily from unripe figs, often the case when they are picked too soon and – watch out – figs don’t ripen when stored.  Try cutting an unripe fig and you will see a milk like liquid.  This contains a proteolytic enzyme called ficin.

So aim for ripe figs and you should be OK every time.  Unless you get greedy and eat too many!  Ficin diminishes as the fruit ripens, it is there to protect the fruit from animals eating it too soon.

Another way to make sure you aren’t getting ficin is to cut the figs in half and eat just the red part, avoiding the skin and white parts.  But bear in mind that ficin contributes to the fig’s laxative properties, so you might be defeating your primary purpose of eating them!

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Featured History

The Greeks had a name for it

Syko – is fig in Greek and it was the same in Ancient Greece.   philo-sykos means “friend of the fig” and many famous ancient Greeks professed to this love, including Plato and of course Solon who banned the export of figs as he considered them way too useful for the inhabitants of Attica.  Another Greek king, Mithridates ordered that all citizens of Pontus were he ruled should consume them daily as a cure for all sorts of things.

Greeks loved figs so much that they wore them around their necks in purification ceremonies.  (White figs for women, black ones for men.)  Figs were considered particularly honourable fruit, given to mortals from the godess Demeter and even used as laurels in the first Olympics, they were food for athletes, travellers and of course symposiums as they were considered good food for thinkers as well.