If the wasp climbs into a female fig [the kind we eat], it will pollinate it but cannot lay eggs and will just die on its own. Luckily for us, the female fig produces an enzyme that completely digests this wasp. The crispy bits are seeds, not wasp parts.”
Remember, not all figs contain wasps. Some varieties — including many grown for the supermarket — don’t need pollination by fig wasps. Instead, they are sprayed with certain hormones to help the fruit ripen, or they are simply a type of fig that doesn’t need pollination.
The crunchy little things you notice when eating a fig are the seeds, each corresponding to a flower. Such a unique flower requires a unique pollinator. All fig trees are pollinated by very small wasps of the family Agaonidae.
There are over 900 species of fig wasps responsible for pollinating the world’s 900 species of figs. The fig is pollinated and the fig wasp has a safe place for its larva to feed and grow. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to pluck a perfectly ripe fig from your tree, the memory probably stuck with you.
So yes, there are definitely dead bugs in figs. But the fig is essentially digesting the dead wasps as they mature — ash to ash, dust to dust, fig to fig, you get the point — so don’t worry, that crunchy texture in the center of a fig really IS just its seeds .
Vegans should avoid eating animals or animal products whenever possible. The way some fig varieties are pollinated means that every edible fruit of some fig varieties contains at least one dead wasp – so if you eat a fig, you eat a dead insect. So far, so not vegan.
Certain species of figs are male and female and therefore require a special breed of wasp to pollinate the females. The female wasp crawls in through a hole so narrow that she loses her wings and gets trapped. If the fig is male, it will lay its eggs.
Because they are not treated with pesticides, organic dates have the potential to attract bugs, spiders and worms, which usually burrow into the interior of the fruit. A potential indicator of pests are small, brown spots that look like sawdust. While not common, this is actually not uncommon.
Depending on the variety, fresh figs can range in color from golden yellow to deep purple, while dried dates are typically deep brown with a reddish undertone. Dates are ovoid and wrinkled, somewhat resembling a large raisin, while figs are more rounded and plump. Dried dates also tend to be a lot stickier than dried figs.
Finally: no, there are no wasp parts in your favorite figs…but there were, at one point. Luckily for us, figs digest all wasp parts long before they make it onto our cheeseboards. That’s why we can’t have nice things.
You see, it all ends well. The female figs produce an enzyme called “ficin” which digests the invading wasp, thus converting the wasp carcass into pure protein in the fig. Those crunchy bits in the figs are seeds, not wasp parts. And in case you’re wondering, fig jam isn’t sweet wasp paste.
All edible figs have male and female flowers, but according to the University of Georgia, only Caprifig is considered a male tree. Caprifig has inedible fruit and is used solely to pollinate other edible figs while female trees produce edible fruit.
If the fig is male, it lays its eggs. These hatch larvae, which dig up, transform into wasps and fly away, carrying fig pollen with them . Lucky for us, the female fig produces an enzyme that completely digests this wasp. The crispy bits are seeds, not wasp parts.”
Berries. Raspberries and blueberries are sweet treats for insects like worms and bugs. With this in mind, the FDA allows up to four larvae or ten whole insects per 500 grams of berries, or about 2.5 cups.
Dates have a lower glycemic index, are high in fiber, potassium, copper, magnesium and vitamins B5, B6 and folic acid. On the other hand, figs have fewer calories, carbohydrates and sugars and are richer in vitamins C, K and A. The amount of fat and protein in both is negligible.