Posts Tagged ‘figs’

“We all want some figgy pudding, we all want some figgy pudding, we all want some – arrrrrrrghhhhh!”

August 3, 2011

** Click here for Episode 185 **

I’m not a fan of either figs or wasps, but even if I were, this email from Andy from Birkenhead would make me consider changing my alliance to prunes and hornets:

I’ve just listened to Episode 185 and the bit about Martin having a vegan friend who wouldn’t eat figs. You mentioned that it seemed daft not eating figs just because a wasp may have laid its eggs in it.

But according to my friend Lindsey, wasps and figs have a symbiotic co-evolutionary relationship – a particular type of wasp (the fig wasp) burrows its way inside a young fig, pollinates it, lays loads of eggs then dies inside the fig. The fig then consumes the nutrients from the dead wasp. Later on the eggs hatch and lots of the baby wasps die, but a few burrow out to go on and live happy waspy lives. See here for a fig giving birth to wasps:

The fig gets pollinated and a juicy waspy snack, and in return the wasp gets somewhere safe to lay her eggs.

But this means that the characteristic crunchiness of figs is partly due to seeds, and partly due to the crunchy decomposing corpses of wasps.

And I guess if you munch your merry way into a fig just before it’s due to ‘give birth’, you’re in for quite a surprise as your mouth fills with scores of baby wasps.

Needless to say, I no longer buy fig rolls.

You might buy them if they were advertised as ‘Fig rolls – fortified with wasp protein! FREE WASPS in every pack!’ It’s really just a matter of marketing.

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