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Ripe Figs

A detail of the ripe figs, just after picking. The flesh of the fig “fruit” is actually made up of many minute flowers packed closely together; the fig is pollinated by a species of wasp that gains access to the flowers through the tiny hole at the base of the fruit. (While some fig cultivars require pollination, our ‘Chicago Hardy’ is a parthenogenic form.)

The milky latex that exudes from the broken stems was put to various uses and was employed as a medicament, as a vegetable rennet in cheesemaking, and as an adjuvant in preparing tempera paint when made from whole egg. (The yolk and white were blended togerther using freshly cut stems from a young fig.)

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