The fig tree prefers sunny, hot sites and is very resistant to drought. It does not need irrigation and has hardly any demands to the soil. Figs are known to be one of the earliest fruits known to be cultivated by man. Harvesting of figs depends on the end product, i.e. fresh or dried figs. When figs are grown to produce dried figs, they are left to ripen and dry partially on the tree. Two different methods are then used: (a) the fruit is picked and spread under the sun for further drying; (b) the fruit is left on the tree to fall naturally to the
ground and collected for processing regularly every 2 or 3 days. At the end of either of the two, figs have become dried figs. They are then carefully sorted, cleaned, shaped and packed in a variety that will determine the way they are traded. About 90% of the figs produced in the world are dried. Dried figs are widely consumed as a snack or a dessert, and used as ingredient in cereal mixes, bakery products and confectionery products.
On a nutritional level, dried figs are a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps to control blood pressure. They are a good source of dietary fibre too, believed to have a positive effect on weight management. Additionally, they are a fruit source of calcium, a mineral that has many functions including promoting bone density. Besides their main nutritional properties, dried figs contain a notable amount of manganese and copper.
Dried figs are available in all varieties, sizes, packaging presentations and processes.