Mmm… figs. A soft, sweet and delectable fruit, revered by many fruitarians. Fresh figs are juicy and make a great monomeal/snack. The inside of a fresh fig looks sweet and juicy, and is often treasured and considered to be a “jem” in the high-carb lifestyle. But despite from figs tasting yummy and providing many nutritional benefits, did you know figs and wasps have a symbiotic relationship? Continue reading to learn more.
Have you heard of fig wasps? Fig wasps are wasps that pollinate certain fig trees. Have you ever looked at a fig tree and said it looked like a flower? If so, you are right because figs are technically inverted flowers. Thus, they store their pollen inside the fruit instead of outside. In order for the female fruits to pollinate, the trees have basically built a relationship with a type of wasp. The wasp is known as a fig wasp and it makes it’s way inside the fruit when it makes a hole at the bottom of the fig. The wasps do this so they can lay their eggs. Once the eggs have hatched, the baby wasps mate and the males, who are born with sharp teeth and are wingless, chew holes through the skin of the fig. They do this so the wasps with wings can fly out. Once the parenting duties of the wasps are fulfilled, the male wasps die.
When the female wasps are pregnant and loaded with pollen, they fly to other fig trees and fly into the figs to lay their eggs, starting the cycle over again, anew. As they begin their new cycle and since female wasps don’t have receptacles for their wasp eggs, the wasps get trapped as they go inside the figs for their eggs. The wings of the female wasps gets trapped in the process and her wings get ripped off, as well. Although the fig is unsuccessful in laying her eggs, she’s able to pollinate successfully the female fig flower. So what happens to the female wasp that got herself trapped?
This is where the answer to “is there a dead wasp in figs” question get answered: Yes, the female wasp eventually dies in her own pollination of the fig. Thus, there’s a dead fig wasp inside figs that we eat! Nature is simply mind-blowing and incredible.
You can learn more about figs and wasps in the following resourceful links:
- What You Didn’t Know About Figs and Wasps Video: https://youtu.be/AYSgOnz-_2Q
- The Symbiotic Relationship Between Figs and Wasps: http://www.thekitchn.com/strange-symbiosis-the-fig-and-126960
And to answer your question about whether or not figs are vegan – figs are a fruit and although they may have a dead wasp in them, that doesn’t mean they’re not vegan friendly or that if a vegan eats them, they’re no longer vegan. If you really want to get technical, NOBODY is vegan by nature because we eat microscopic bugs whenever we take a bite, the soil we use may contain horse manor, or the soil our produce grows in is not entirely vegan. Here’s what one of the greats, Steve Factor had to say when I asked him about whether or not mushrooms are a vegan food because they’re grown in non-vegan soil. His response:
“Mushrooms are vegan and the soil, hopefully is not, just like the best soils to grow any vegetable or fruit have the most non vegan soils. In one sense, nobody is vegan on planet earth…what I mean by that is this…open your mouth…you just ate a bunch of invisible bugs…when we eat organic produce, there are bugs on it, when we drive a car, we are killing bugs every second, and when we open our mouth, bugs come in, there are so many very small life forms all around us…I see mushrooms as vegan and love them myself.”
So there you have it! I see figs as a vegan fruit. There is no harm, sacrifice or torture done in the pollination process, so there’s nothing to be concerned about.
So what do you think about that?! Have you ever heard about this? If not, are you grossed out and never want to eat another fig again, or are you fascinated by this and aren’t grossed out at all and want to continue enjoying figs?? I want to know, so tell me in the comments below! I’d love to hear your feedback 🙂
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