The fig, an early symbol of peace and prosperity, comes from one of the oldest cultivated plants in history. Evidence has found the fig dates back to at least 9200 BC, during the neolithic period. Adam and Eve used a fig leaf to cover , well... umm... more than their figs, and there has been a long known debate that the "forbidden fruit" that Eve ate was a fig, not an apple.
Ficus carica, known as the common fig, originated in the Middle East and Asia. By the 15th century the fig tree was grown all over the world, including Northern Europe. The fig was used in cooking, even swapped for sugar as a sweetener. The Spanish Missionaries brought the fig to America in the 1700s, which is why we call the most popular type of fig in the US "Mission Figs".
Fresh figs are one of our favorite fruits. They can be served fresh, dried and used in baking or used as an ingredient for recipes like jams. I used figs in our Welsh Rarebit, which you can find in my cookbook; A Thyme and Place.