Figs are preserved in this manner in Lebanon to be served in the
winter as part of nokl, the light refreshments at an informal
family party. Figs are preserved in all of the principal fig growing
areas of the Middle East for they are highly nutritious. Anise seed is
the preservative used to ward off worms and other insects. The figs
are usually packed in tins with tight fitting lids or in heavy cloth
bags. Children often take handfuls of dried figs to school.
Figs are gathered from the trees as they ripen in the fall. Each one
is pressed lightly in the middle with the fingers and placed on a
large straw tray to dry. When well dried each fig is individually
dipped into boiling water to which a spoonfu of anise seed has been
added. Again the figs are spread out to dry and when they are
thoroughly dry they are packed away for winter eating.
(From Food from the Arab World Marie
Karam Khayat and Margaret Clark Keatinge, Khayat's, Beirut 1959)