Turkish Figs – 10 Essential Things to Know


As a Turkish local, my international friends ask me a lot of questions like why Turkish figs are different or why most of the dried figs are labeled as Turkish figs, and many more similar questions.

I may not be a professional expert but I live in the region where nearly half of the fig production in Turkey takes place. Literally, I was born into fig trees. I also own several fig trees in my backyard and in our vineyard.

With help of little research, I will answer all your questions about figs in this post.

What are the Turkish Figs?

Figs are grown all around the globe in temperate climate zones, yet the Mediterranean climate is the best climate to grow figs.

Turkish figs are famous because Fig Tree is a native plant to Turkey. Fig is cultivated in Turkey since ancient times. Moreover, Turkey is the world’s leading fig producer of both fresh and dried figs.

Are Turkish figs different?

Figs in Turkey are different because of the climate, temperature, and all other conditions that are excellent for fig trees. Also, Turkish farmers have centuries of tradition on how to grow and produce figs.

While you can consume figs in two different ways: fresh or dried, Turkish dried figs are more famous and delicious. The main difference is the way they are dried.

There are two main techniques to make dried figs. One of them is drying them with natural sunlight, the other is drying with heated ovens.

Turkish figs are generally dried with sunlight. This is the traditional drying method and creates tastier, meatier, and healthier dried grapes.

Our first fig harvest this year

What is the difference Between Mission Figs and Turkish Figs?

Here are the major differences between Fresh Mission and Turkish Figs.

.Mission FigTurkish Fig
ColorDeep blue tonesBrown-blue and green tones
SkinThin and may have eatable skinThick skin. Skin is not eatable if not dried.
TasteSweeter but with less aroma and smellStronger aroma and smell
Most used
Drying Method
Dried in heated ovens or dehydration (the modern way)Dried with sunlight (traditional method updated with modern principles)
Here are the major differences between Mission and Turkish Figs.
It is a tradition to hold fig beauty contests in fig-producing towns.

I usually feel mission figs are rich in sugar, more honey-like. On the other hand, Turkish figs are more earthy with better flavor and smell.

Turkish dried figs, on the other hand, are more natural besides being tasty. For these reasons, Turkish figs are demanded all around the globe.

To sustain this demand, measures are taken to ensure the quality of Turkish dried figs. In recent decades, the traditional technique is further enhanced by modern techniques.

For example, Turkish figs are still dried by sunlight, but not in the open air, now they are dried in a greenhouse to ensure a sterile environment. Turkish figs are also screened with UV light to detect low-quality products once the drying is over.

Turkish figs are healthier because of two factors. First of all, Turkish figs are dried using sunshine and the second factor is that many modern techniques are employed in washing, drying, packaging, storage, and delivery. Yet all these modern methods are just small enchantments to the traditional way of drying to ensure higher quality natural products without pests. Source 1 Source 2

Where do Turkish figs come from?

Turkish figs from Turkey are the most known figs in the world. Turkey produces a quarter of fresh figs in the world as well as nearly all of the dried figs in the world.

Mediterranean climate is the most excellent climate to grow figs. Yet, most figs came from several microclimates that provide more than an excellent environment to grow figs.

Aydin province of Turkey accounts for 75% of fresh and dried fig production in Turkey. Aydın is followed by Hatay, Mersin and Adana. Turkey produces 78,200 tonnes of dried and 306,499 tonnes of fresh fig each year.

Here are the tables.

World Fig Production

CountryTonnes

Turkey
306,499
Egypt 189,339
Morocco 128,380
Algeria 109,214
Iran 59,339
Spain 47,750
Syria 35,300
United States28,874
World Total 1,135,316
Fig production by Country (Source 2018 United Nations FAOSTAT)

World Dried Fig Production

CountryTonnes

Turkey
78,200
Iran 18,000
United States 9,500
Afghanistan 9,000
Greece7,500
Spain 6,000
Italy 4,000
Others3,500
World Total 135,700
Fig production by Country (Source 2018 International Nut&Organization)

A Fact about History of Figs

Famous ancient era historian, Herodotus (who lived in Bodrum, Turkey in 5th BC) noted that the figs are old as humankind.

Herodotus also speculated that Persians gave up their fighting and lost to the Greeks because the Persian army lacked figs in their diet. Many believed that in the Ancient Greek world that figs were the super fruit of all time.

Are Turkish Figs Good for You?

Turkish figs are very good and healthy fruits. Especially Turkish dried figs especially provide delicious snacks. Here are the major positive health effects of Turkish figs.

Turkish figs;

  • prevent the formation of cancer cells, because figs (especially dried figs) are a very good source of antioxidants.
  • strengthen the immune system. Additionally, for women who are in the menopause period, figs add an extra line of defense to the immune system which is weakened due to hormones.
  • protects the cardiovascular health and prevents hardening of the arteries because figs have high potassium, calcium and the low-fat content.
  • nourishes the hair follicles and protects the scalp with magnesium rich minerals.
  • are an excellent snack after sportive activities to balance your sugar levels because figs contain high natural sugar.
  • contains high levels of fibre which supports our digestive system.

How do you eat Turkish figs? 3 Simple Recipes

I love to eat dried figs mixed with oats and milk in the morning. Let me share some of my favorite recipes for dried Turkish figs.

Simple Dried Fig Recipe with 2-Ingredients

Put whole walnuts inside Turkish dried figs. This is the most common way to eat dried figs in Turkey.

Fig Energy Balls

  • Put dried figs in a blender
  • Add a 1/2 teaspoon of water for each whole dried fig before starting the blender.
  • slowly add oats, coconut and walnuts and use a blender to make a dough.
  • Shape the dough into small balls.
  • You can coat the balls with cocoa or you may cover them with chocolate sauce.
  • Let them rest iin the refrigerator at least two hours before you serve.

Fig energy balls are excellent to raise energy levels when you are tired.

Banana Fig Cookies

  • Soak the dried figs in hot water for 5 minutes.
  • Put the banana and the softened figs into a blender to obtain a thick dough.
  • Divide this dough into cookie size and put the unbaked cookies in a baking tray lined covered with baking paper.
  • Bake in a preheated 180 degree oven for about 20 minutes.
  • Rest your cookies after cooking and serve them cold for the best experience.

Turkish Fig Varieties

There are many differences. Here are the main fig tree varieties in Turkey and their attributes.

Fig Variety/Kind of Fig
Fruit weight (grams)Skin color Inner colorBest Eaten
Sarilop59-70YellowLight PinkDry-Fresh
Morguz60-70Greenish PurpleRedFresh
20847-55PurpleRed Fresh
Yesilgüz47-55GreenRed Fresh – Dry
Sultan Selim41-50Greenish YellowRed Fresh
Bursa Siyahi66-75BlackRed Fresh
Beyaz Orak78-100Yellowish GreenLight Pink Fresh
Siyah Orak29-40BlackLight Pink Fresh – Dry
Divrek Kara43-50BlackRed Dry
Kinds of fig trees and their attributes Source Turkish Government Research
One of my favorite variety is ‘Bursa Siyahı’

Where to Buy Turkish Figs?

You can Turkish figs through Amazon Online. Since they are dried, they can last a very long time. By the way, here is my favorite dried fig brand that you can find from Amazon.

Efe Genit

I am a father, a passionate traveler, and a Turkish lawyer. You can enjoy my guides and tips about Turkey that only Turkish locals would know.

2 thoughts on “Turkish Figs – 10 Essential Things to Know

  1. I recently came across Turkish Figs in Sprouts grocery store. Can’t stop eating them they are so delicious. Thank you for all this background information on the Turkish Fig. Very intersting…

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