Are Figs Vegan?

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Do you consider figs vegan?

Yes, vegans can eat figs.
No, vegans shouldn't eat figs.
Total votes : 57

Postby seasiren » Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:21 pm

[quote="jemmyducks"]I love figs and have been eating a lot. I'm hoping the "some figs are vegan" wins out in this one, but if I knew all figs had dead wasps in them, I'd stop eating them.

Seasiren wrote: "But if the production of a fig MUST involve the direct work or product of an animal, then I would say they are not vegan."

Well, LOTS of plants require the direct work of bees as pollinators. And worms to aerate the soil. And all sorts of other bugs and bigger animals who fertilize the soil. We can't cut animals out of the food-production cycle! although we can certainly stop abusing their relationships with plants.


Not exactly how I ment it to come across....I just got up so, need more coffee then I'll reword. :lol:
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Postby Crash » Wed Jun 14, 2006 2:02 pm

[quote="veganmonk"] After watching the video, I think if I'm not mistaken, all figs require pollination, but within each fig, are male and female flower components, and the male side does not get pollinated, but, that really doesn't mean anything

VM per information on the California Rare Fruit Growers website and on another website that gives tips on growing figs, it is clearly stated that the common fig does not need any pollination.

Per your source, this only shows 2 species of figs - not all.
[quote]In this film, the symbiosis is analysed and some of the diverging features of the relationship between two fig species (Ficus natalensis leprieuri and F. ottoniifolia) and their pollinating wasps (respectively: Alfonsiella natalensis, later identified as Alfonsiella fimbriata) and Agaon camerunensis and Agaon gabonensis (later identified as belonging to genus Courtella) are compared through ecological, ethological, morphological and evolutionary aspects.

Also, per your website [quote]At the moment species coverage is limited to the Afrotropical region, but page development for the rest of the world's fig species is in progress. Ultimately, we aim to have complete coverage of all Ficus species.

So this website doesn't really present a complete picture imho. Again, per information from 2 different sources, there are 4 types of figs - the common fig, Smyrna figs, San Pedro figs and caprifigs. While 3 do require pollination, 1 (ficus cariga - the common fig) does not require pollination as all the flowers are female.

I'll go one further -- here's a 3rd sourcethat states:
[quote]Taxonomy, cultivars.

The cultivated fig, Ficus carica L., is a member of the Moraceae (mulberry family). Other important fruit-bearing species include the mulberries (Morus spp.), Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis Fosb.), Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam.), and several tropical Ficus species produce edible fruit for local consumption and wildlife. Other Ficus species of importance - F. elastica ("rubber plant") and F. benjamina (Ficus tree or weeping fig); important indoor foliage plants; the latter is used as a hedge or landscape tree in tropical areas.

4 types of cultivars:

1. Caprifig. "Male", but actually bears both staminate and pistillate flowers. Inedible; used to pollinate Smyrna and San Pedro types; grown outside the orchard, picked prior to wasp emergence, and hung in baskets in trees.

2. Smyrna fig. Requires pollination for fruit set, but wasp does not oviposit in fruit, styles too long. One main crop/yr, the "second" crop; first crop is very light, only a few fruits/tree. 'Calimyrna' is the only Smyrna cultivar grown in California, and is the most widely produced cultivar.

3. Common fig. Parthenocarpic; first crop borne on 1-yr-old wood, second crop borne on current season's growth. Most commercial cultivars are found in this group: 'Mission', 'Kadota' (syn. 'Dottato'), 'Magnolia' (syn. 'Brunswick'), 'Brown Turkey', 'Celeste'

4. San Pedro fig. Combined characteristics of Smyrna and Common figs. First crop - parthenocarpic, called "brebas"; second crop - requires pollination by wasp. Rarely cultivated commercially.

Origin, history of cultivation.
The fig is native to western Asia, and has been cultivated for thousands of years in Mediterranean countries of Europe and North Africa. Figs were introduced to England and Mexico in the 1500's, then the Eastern US in 1669, and to California in 1881. Common figs were cultivated successfully throughout the Gulf states and California, but the Smyrna fig did not fruit until it was realized that a tiny wasp was needed for pollination, which was not native to California. The wasp (Blastophaga psenes) was introduced in 1900.

Therefore you are mistaken when you state that all figs require pollination as the common fig (Ficus carica) does not and is therefore vegan.
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Postby veganmonk » Wed Jun 14, 2006 4:41 pm

It also states that "The most delicious figs are wasp-pollinated and contain nutty fig seeds." and more than likely most sources would use wasp-pollinated figs, and that is what they sell themselves.

How do you feel about wasp pollinated figs?
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Postby Crash » Wed Jun 14, 2006 5:01 pm

I think it's gross. :shock: :? But that's a moot point as your quoted description was regarding the Calmyrna fig - one of the cultivars of the Smyrna type (which is one of the 3 types of figs needing pollination) - not the 1 type (Ficus carica) that doesn't need pollination and is vegan.
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Postby veganmonk » Wed Jun 14, 2006 5:29 pm

This article also makes me want to stay away from figs pollinated by wasps, as it states how in the amazon at least, all figs do require wasp pollination, and how many species thrive on them being their sole source of food, so when humans cultivate these, we are taking away precious resources to sustain the rainforest ecology (at least that is what I get out of it after thinking about the points made):

But, I did call the California fig advisory board and ask!

I was told that only one version, the "calamira" (sp?) is pollinated by wasps. The rest are not.

So, if you make sure you get figs grown in california, that aren't the calamira version, then they are Vegan, I would say.

But ones in the wild or pollinated by wasps, are disruptive and definately not vegan due to the wasp content inside left-over. IMO.

So, I wish I could edit this poll and add an option of "it depends on if it was wasp pollinated or not", and I'd change my vote to that.

I think a lot of people don't understand that wasps LIVE and GROW and DIE in figs, and leave remnants inside of egg larvae & sexual secretions etc.. they don't just pollinate them like bees do flowers.... WATCH THE VIDEO!!!!! :shock:
Last edited by veganmonk on Fri Jun 16, 2006 6:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby FatPunkChris » Fri Jun 16, 2006 3:25 pm

Well I think you have put me off figs now anyway... 8)

Wasp Larve yum....



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Postby Dave Noisy » Fri Jun 16, 2006 9:46 pm

hmm...a bit of a tough one. I voted 'yes', based on the idea that it's not really 'intentional', and not all figs will contain wasp bodies and fluids. (Yum.)

I will likely be avoiding figs after reading this..bleh...

This isn't unlike many 'bulk' items, like rice or oats.. There's a certain allowable amount of 'extra material' that is tolerable...and this could include ground up insects or mammals like mice and if you vote 'no', this might also be of concern to you.
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Postby Oak » Sat Jun 17, 2006 12:34 pm

Well I have just watched the video, ugh 25minutes!!

This kind of relationship between incects and fruit is prevelent throughout the world. Also of course there are relationships which are harmful to fruits by the life cycles of incects.
The point is that if you are to eat many fruits, especially organic, there will be some incect contamination.

I, personally, have nothing against eating dead things at all. I may not choose to eat dead things as they smell rotten or As one who does not support unneccessary exploitation of others, I would want to eat a diet to t prove that it is a possibility for others to follow a diet of reduced harm.

So for me eating dead things is fine, causing their death is not.

For me the question is..."to what extent do we cause the unnecessary distrubance of these others"
I think that the eating of figs in these cases is most likely not to be that disturbing and just be the consuming of the dead incects and perhaps some unhatched larvae. Also looking at the positive side of it....B12!!!! :P

The other thing is that it is a consequence of living so perhaps not really that relevent. Think when you drive your car, cut your grass, eat your fruit, go for a walk in the country side - these will affect incects. But it's something that I am not concerned about.

Oak :)
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Postby JP » Mon Jun 19, 2006 8:24 am

oak hit the nail in the head.

I think complete utopian veganism would mean total alienation from nature. If we scope down to small enough creatures we are eating non-vegetables all the time we consume fruits and vegetables, thats just the way it is. Polynation is required to all fruits and as far as i understand mostly relies on insects to do it.

how many worms are killed to make organic apple juice i wonder ;)

I think the deliberate exploitation of animals is the key, rather than consequental one which is just a product of our interaction with nature. This can of course be minimised as well...
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Postby michelle2 » Mon Jun 26, 2006 11:12 pm

Figs are fruits and that's it!!
You'll always get a little fly or even a worm in your fruits, and you might eat them without knowing. So what?! When I was little we had a nice cherry tree, full of great big sweet cherries and I used to eat A lot of cherries. But one day my aunt picked some cherries and put them in cold water. I asked her why, she said wait and you'll see. So I waited and waited and slowly started to see little worms in the water. She washed the cherries and started eating them. I figured out, all this time I was eating all these worms :mrgreen: he he, little extra protein she said.
Figs are great, and don't be too picky, it's enough that we're vegan and all that comes with it.
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Postby Rak » Tue Jun 27, 2006 7:35 pm

Figs are sold in Unicorn Grocery, thats good enough for me. Plus they are a good source of calcium.
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Postby Frostfire » Wed Jun 28, 2006 7:16 pm

:lol: When I was a kid eating "Fig Newtons" my older sisters told me the crunchy bits were dead wasp parts. I never thought there would be any truth to that! I thought it was just older sisters being older sisters :lol: (remember that Foxy?).
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Postby heatherhorton » Sun Jul 02, 2006 2:41 am

I'm kind of freaked out now after reading this, and I haven't even watched the video yet! I eat dried figs...calymyrna and black mission...I guess these are on the list of ones that need pollinating by wasps...I just bought a bag yesterday too!!

I don't think I'll be eating them anymore after this. Even if I'm not eating any dead insects, the thought that I might be is sufficient to deter me!

They are organic, but I don't know where they are from...I wonder how likely it is that i"m eating bugs? I know eating dead bugs is inevitable, but the crunchiness of the fig seeds just will freak me right out now!!

Oh well, live and learn!

Interesting thred btw...thanks for the lesson learned!
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Postby Malcolms Billy » Sun Jul 02, 2006 8:15 pm

Of course figs are vegan! Have you ever seen one eating a burger!?? :shock: :shock:
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Postby barnz2k » Sat Dec 08, 2007 6:01 pm

i was only searching for fig recipes and found this thread :(
Either way the idea is making me not want to start the pack of dried figs sitting on my shelf!
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