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Wilburn: Figs fruit is actually flower
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I never see figs without thinking of my grandmother and mother-in-law; they both loved them.

In doing my research for information on figs, I found out that figs are one of mankind's oldest fruits. Although considered a fruit, the fig is actually a flower inverted into itself. They are the only fruit to ripen on the tree. Originally native from Turkey to northern India, the fig fruit spread to many of the Mediterranean countries. The primary producers of dried figs today are the United States, Turkey, Greece and Spain. This nutritious fruit arrived in the United States by Spanish missionaries settling in southern California in 1759. Fig trees were soon planted throughout the state.

Dried figs are an excellent replacement for fat in baked goods. Just remember when using dried figs to replace shortening or oil in baking, do not overmix or overbake. Use only half of the normal amount of shortening, margarine, butter or oil, in a recipe when using dried puree. For instance, if 1 cup of margarine is called for, use only 1/2 cup. Then use 1/2 of the fig puree.

Debbie Wilburn is county extension agent in family and consumer science with the Hall County Extension. Contact: 770-535-8290.