This post started in my mind as another article about nutrition, this time about figs. Yes, figs. Don’t laugh, figs are another super food. OK, maybe not, but before getting to them, I would like to tell you a bit about Parkash and her relationship with figs; or any other veggie, fruit, flower or nuts and anything else that she can grow in her garden.

You see, Parkash does have a relationship with all growing living greenies in our garden and everywhere she goes. It’s a genuine, nurturing and mutually respectful bond.

I know that it is genuine, because I have seen Parkash talk to her beauties as she is lovingly taking care of them. She thanks them each time she is trimming them. She says a short prayer each time she is taking any fruit off a branch.

I know it’s nurturing, as Parkash takes loving care of all growing things around our backyard each and every day. And in return, they give us pleasure through nutrition for our bodies or pleasure for our eyes.

And I know that Parkash and all growing things have a mutually respectful bond because I see how she treats them, and in turn I see how they repay her. They all grow and multiply clearly happy and content.

For many of you who know Parkash, none of this comes as a surprise. You must have at least suspected that she talks to her plants.

All this brings me to the story of how Parkash became a thief! Several days ago, as we were walking Dexter (black, fluffy, small and a very cute thing on four legs) around our neighbourhood we came to a house with two beautiful fig trees. The figs were just beginning to ripen. These are large trees with branches bending under the weight of the fruit. Many branches extend over the fence, happily teasing all passers by with their bounty.

Parkash’s eyes widened as she focused them upwards, searching for the best fig with a precision of a hunter looking at its pray. A hunter? You are going too far, you might say; she is a vegetarian after all. True, but you should have seen her in action that day!

The first time I saw her like this, was on a small Greek island under another majestic fig tree. She has a reputation over there now — Parkash, The Fig Hunter. (You can see the photo of Parkash in action in Greece is above.)

Anyway, we both reached up to help ourselves to a ripe fig. They were delicious. Soft, juicy and sweet!

A few more days went by. I came home one afternoon, and found a big bowl of beautiful figs in our kitchen. And yes, you know where they came from!

In some jurisdictions branches overhanging onto a public space are a fair game for anyone to pick from. In others, the fruit belongs to the property where the trunk of the tree is growing from. Hmmm…

The next day we both went back to the house to see if we could meet the owners. As we approached, a woman sitting on her patio was waving as if she was expecting us.

And that’s how we met Maria. She has been living in this house ever since she came to Canada in 1971 with her husband. And the fig trees in question started as small branches brought over from Greece.

figs lady

We learned a bit about her life, her children and husband, and about her love for gardening. We told her about picking figs from her trees, which made her happy. Neighbours come from all over to do just that, she said with smile.

We brought Parkash’s famous homemade Heavenly Nut Granola as a small gift for her. We visited with her for over an hour and we promised to come back in a few days. She wanted to share with us more stories from her rich and hardworking life.

We are very fortunate for being surrounded by wonderful neighbours on all sides. A new friend was added to our lives, so this story will continue…

fig tree

Potential Health Benefits From Eating Figs

Let me tell you in short some of the nutritional benefits of eating fresh figs.

Fresh figs contain a good supply of poly-phenolic flavonoid anti-oxidants such as carotenes, lutein, tannins, chlorogenic acid…etc. They have sufficient levels of some of the anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin A, E, and K. These phyto-chemical compounds in figs help hunt down harmful oxygen derived free radicals from the human body and therefor they may protect us from cancers, diabetes, degenerative diseases and infections.

Research studies propose that chlorogenic acid in the figs help lower blood sugar levels and control blood-glucose levels in type-II diabetes mellitus (adult onset) condition.

Figs are also a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps to control blood pressure.

They are a good source of dietary fiber. Fiber-rich foods may have an encouraging effect on weight control. In one study, women who increased their intake of fiber with supplements considerably decreased their energy intake, at the same time their hunger and satiety scores did not change.

Results of one study involving 51,823 postmenopausal women for 8.3 years showed a 34% decrease in breast cancer risk for those who were consuming the most fruit fiber in comparison to those consuming the least.

In addition, in the subgroup of women who had ever used hormone replacement, those consuming the most fiber, especially cereal fiber, had a 50% reduction in their risk of breast cancer compared to those consuming the least. (Fruits richest in fiber include apples, kiwis, dates, figs, pears and prunes.)

Fig fruit
Nutrition Value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)

nutrition of figs