Dried Figs


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)