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Can vegetarians eat figs?

by Bryony Harrison (follow)
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For a fig to be edible, it requires an insect called a wasp (not the black and yellow wasps, but something that looks like a flying ant) to burrow inside and pollinate it. Once inside, the wasp is trapped and dies; it is then destroyed by enzymes from the fruit. When we eat a fig, we are also eating the remnants of the wasp.

Does this mean vegetarians cannot eat figs? Are you a vegetarian? Do you eat figs? Did you know about this fact, and will it stop you eating figs in the future?

#Vegetarian
#Food
#Fruit
#Figs
#Insects
#Lifestyle
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Since that's how both the wasps and the figs reproduce (the wasps lay eggs in the fig) which would happen regardless of what humans think about it I can't see anything morally wrong with eating the fig afterwards. It's not like the person eating it caused the wasps' deaths. I suppose there's the ick factor, but a lot of foods are icky if you think too hard about how they're made. Personally I'm not a fan of fresh figs anyway. The dried ones are all right though.
Hang on, reading the Wikipedia article it doesn't sound like the wasps are trapped inside and die at all. "Ficus carica is dispersed by birds and mammals that scatter their seeds in droppings. Fig fruit is an important food source for much of the fauna in some areas, and the tree owes its expansion to those that feed on its fruit. The common fig tree also sprouts from the root and stolon issues.

The infructescence is pollinated by a symbiosis with a kind of fig wasp (Blastophaga psenes). The fertilized female wasp enters the fig through the scion, which is a tiny hole in the crown (the ostiole). She crawls on the inflorescence inside the fig and pollinates some of the female flowers. She lays her eggs inside some of the flowers and dies. After weeks of development in their galls, the male wasps emerge before females through holes they produce by chewing the galls. The male wasps then fertilize the females by depositing semen in the hole in the gall. The males later return to the females and enlarge the holes to enable the females to emerge. Then some males enlarge holes in the scion, which enables females to disperse after collecting pollen from the developed male flowers. Females have a short time (<48 hours) to find another fig tree with receptive scions to spread the pollen, assist the tree in reproduction, and lay their own eggs to start a new cycle." Ficus carica is dispersed by birds and mammals that scatter their seeds in droppings. Fig fruit is an important food source for much of the fauna in some areas, and the tree owes its expansion to those that feed on its fruit. The common fig tree also sprouts from the root and stolon issues.

The infructescence is pollinated by a symbiosis with a kind of fig wasp (Blastophaga psenes). The fertilized female wasp enters the fig through the scion, which is a tiny hole in the crown (the ostiole). She crawls on the inflorescence inside the fig and pollinates some of the female flowers. She lays her eggs inside some of the flowers and dies. After weeks of development in their galls, the male wasps emerge before females through holes they produce by chewing the galls. The male wasps then fertilize the females by depositing semen in the hole in the gall. The males later return to the females and enlarge the holes to enable the females to emerge. Then some males enlarge holes in the scion, which enables females to disperse after collecting pollen from the developed male flowers. Females have a short time (<48 hours) to find another fig tree with receptive scions to spread the pollen, assist the tree in reproduction, and lay their own eggs to start a new cycle." Ficus carica is dispersed by birds and mammals that scatter their seeds in droppings. Fig fruit is an important food source for much of the fauna in some areas, and the tree owes its expansion to those that feed on its fruit. The common fig tree also sprouts from the root and stolon issues.

The infructescence is pollinated by a symbiosis with a kind of fig wasp (Blastophaga psenes). The fertilized female wasp enters the fig through the scion, which is a tiny hole in the crown (the ostiole). She crawls on the inflorescence inside the fig and pollinates some of the female flowers. She lays her eggs inside some of the flowers and dies. After weeks of development in their galls, the male wasps emerge before females through holes they produce by chewing the galls. The male wasps then fertilize the females by depositing semen in the hole in the gall. The males later return to the females and enlarge the holes to enable the females to emerge. Then some males enlarge holes in the scion, which enables females to disperse after collecting pollen from the developed male flowers. Females have a short time (<48 hours) to find another fig tree with receptive scions to spread the pollen, assist the tree in reproduction, and lay their own eggs to start a new cycle." Ficus carica is dispersed by birds and mammals that scatter their seeds in droppings. Fig fruit is an important food source for much of the fauna in some areas, and the tree owes its expansion to those that feed on its fruit. The common fig tree also sprouts from the root and stolon issues.

The infructescence is pollinated by a symbiosis with a kind of fig wasp (Blastophaga psenes). The fertilized female wasp enters the fig through the scion, which is a tiny hole in the crown (the ostiole). She crawls on the inflorescence inside the fig and pollinates some of the female flowers. She lays her eggs inside some of the flowers and dies. After weeks of development in their galls, the male wasps emerge before females through holes they produce by chewing the galls. The male wasps then fertilize the females by depositing semen in the hole in the gall. The males later return to the females and enlarge the holes to enable the females to emerge. Then some males enlarge holes in the scion, which enables females to disperse after collecting pollen from the developed male flowers. Females have a short time (<48 hours) to find another fig tree with receptive scions to spread the pollen, assist the tree in reproduction, and lay their own eggs to start a new cycle."http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_fig
Oops, I didn't intend to cut and paste that same chunk of text repeatedly. Some sort of glitch. You get the idea though. The link was http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_fig
Hi Jennifer. Ts the first part. You see there are both male and female figs. The fig wasps start out in the male figs (which are inedible), and that is where the males fertilise the females and eat out a hole for the females to escape. The males then die and the females fly into the female figs, where they lay their eggs and die.
I see. The way you worded it in the question I thought you were saying that edible figs are full of dead wasps because they all get trapped in edible figs and die, but it's more like one wasp per fig, with the females actually trying to lay in male figs and sometimes ending up in the female ones per accident.
http://animals.howstuffworks.com/insects/fig-wasp1.htm

Fascinating question! Aren't insects incredible! For me it wouldn't be a moral dilemma though because eating figs doesn't cause an animal's death. The wasps are just getting on with what they'd normally be doing.
Fascinating!
by meggf
It is fascinating. It may not be a moral dilemma, but what about other animals that may die naturally, and are then prepared for as food?
What, like roadkill? I have no ethical problem with that, I just don't personally want to eat it because meat tastes wrong to me now.
Well! after hearing that, and I am not totally vegie....I'm not eating any Fig!

Enzymes or not....a wasp you say?

2015 was to be the year I (for real) try a fruit fig.

Well.........there go's that idea.
There aren't any wasps in them by the time you eat them, there just were wasps in them previously (the wasps leave).
Vuroz - They aren't the wasps that we most commonly know, but a different kind of insect also called fig wasps. You can find out about them here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fig_wasp

Jennifer - the fig wasps do not leave because they get trapped inside and die. The enzymes in the fig breaks them now to practically nothingness though.
Did you see the link I posted below? They don't get trapped inside and die. If they did then they would not be successful in pollinating the fig. They exit through tiny holes in the fig.
Wow, I never knew about this. But this is not going to stop me from eating Figs. Interesting though!
by BK
Oh very interesting because when I read the question heading I thought, 'Why on earth couldn't a vegetarian eat a fig." But there you go, based on your explanation I don't suppose they should.
LOL No, vegetarians should never eat figs! Then there will be more for me.

By the way, insects die in huge numbers in the production and harvesting process of all vegetables, organic or conventional. So maybe vegetarians can't eat vegetables either!
That is a very good point.
Lol and yes, animals die pretty much no matter what you eat (and probably in clearing the land to build your house, in making your clothes etc). It's just a matter of picking where you personally draw the line.
OMG -I wouldnt be that fussy -yes a vegetarian can eat a fig.
by Finy
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