FIGS - Figs generally are sun-dried before shipment, to a degree in conformity with the requirements of the government or other authority at the place of shipment. Figs may, however, be subject to loss in weight from one or more causes. Pressure or mishandling in transit may result in the loss of syrup content, or this may be due to an excess of this content which may exude during the normal course of transit due to the figs not being in a proper condition for export. Despite the supervision of the sun-drying, the fruit may be shipped in too fresh a condition or with an excess of syrup content. It is generally considered, however, that figs of eight to twelve months of age and dried sufficiently for export purposes should show signs of sugar crystallization and in such a case the loss of syrup content should not be unduly heavy.
Figs are the pear-shaped false fruits of the fig tree, of the mulberry family (Moraceae). They contain large numbers of tiny stone fruits inside them. They are preserved by drying (dried fruit). The fig tree, which is often more bush-like, is native to the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean. It is now widespread throughout the tropics and subtropics.
The drying process flattens the figs, resulting in the loss of their pear-like shape and the adoption of a round shape.
Depending on quality, a distinction is drawn between natural figs and processed figs:
- Natural figs are dried in the sun or by machine, threaded on cords or into rings. The glucose which crystallizes out and creates a dull surface with its granules preserves the figs naturally as dried fruit.
- Processed figs undergo several operations, i.e. drying, immersion in salt water or steam treatment, pressing and then drying again. Pressing into particular shapes (slabs, rolls) and processing give the figs an attractive, shiny appearance. Figs processed in this way are commercially the most desirable.
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