Although the production of this superfood that is an energy bomb It is currently very depleted in the Canary Islands, the fig was already cultivated by the ancient Canaries before the Conquest by the Spanish.
We know that Figs were an essential part of the diet of the inhabitants of the Canaries in pre-Hispanic times by the vestiges found in Tenerife and Gran Canaria, in excavations in which fig seeds were found and whose antiquity in some cases exceeds 1,500 years, according to several authors.
The findings allow us to deduce that the fig tree was the first fruit tree cultivated in the Canary Islands. There is archaeological and ethnohistorical evidence of the importance of figs in the diet of the ancient inhabitants of Gran Canaria, who collected, dried and stored the fruits for their consumption in winter. This guaranteed an extra supply of energy, since the fig contains such potential that it is worthy of being in the diet of an elite athlete. What’s more, both fresh and dry, the fig has the same calories, many. Its enormous caloric intake, about 70 calories per piece, is due to its high sugar content. And in its virtue there is also its drawback, its concentration of sugars makes the fig a fruit not recommended for people with diabetes.
After the Conquest of the Archipelago by the Crown of Castile, the cultivation of the fig tree spread throughout the islands. The cause seems to be the great rustic character of this fruit. Thus, figs continued to be, as in the pre-Hispanic period, at least on some islands such as Gran Canaria, a product of great importance in the subsistence diet of the population settled in the Archipelago.
Proof of this is that, in addition to feeding many canaries, it became part of the rural landscape of the Islands until the last third of the 20th century.
For this reason, the reference to fig trees in wills and land disputes is frequent, leaving many names of varieties that are still preserved. Its importance has been such that in some cases the land was left as an inheritance to one person and the fig tree to another.
Another sign of the relevance of the fruit and the tree that produces it in island life is the abundance of toponymies that are related to this superfood in the Canary Islands..
In Gran Canaria, for example, the Teldense paid the Canarian fig tree It is one of the most famous. This toponymy has to do with the extension of the crop.