The humble fresh fig

Yet again nature seems to have it wall worked out.  I just came across an article on “figs”, the amazing humble fig.

As my life revolves around teaching and creating all sorts of fermented and cultured foods, whereby proteins and sugars are converted by bugs, just doing their thing, this research carried out by  Purdue University in Indiana, on the sap found in figs, caught my attention straight away.

It turns out that the sap, which also causes skin irritations in some people, contains resin, albumin, sugar, malic acid, rennin, proteolytic enzymes, diastase, esterase, lipase, catalase and peroxidase.  These are all enzymes that break down compounds.  Fig sap contains ficin, an enzyme that breaks down protein, very similar to the one found in pineapple and pawpaw.

Because of ficins ability to breakdown protein, is is used in the Mediterranean for making home style cheeses and is also used in conjunction with animal rennet(an enzyme extracted from calfs stomachs), to make cheese.