Are Dates and Figs The Same Thing? (A QUICK GUIDE)

image of similarities and differences between dates and figs

Both are energy-stacked, fibrous, and a staple since the Bronze Age. Frankly, we all devoured figs and dates since we were hairless monkeys.

Still, date and fig trees are not long-lost relatives; they are two different species.

If both are fruits, why do figs get snubbed by vegans? And how do figs remove estrogen?

We’ll find out all of this and much more in this article. By the end, you’ll have a complete picture of:

  • The difference between dates and figs
  • The similarity between the two fruits
  • Their main characteristics, inside & out

Let’s get started!

Are figs and dates the same?

They have very different needs; dates like hot temperatures and plenty of water, while figs can grow almost anywhere. They are barely related to each other except for being plants.

Both come from trees; date palms and fig trees. Eaten mostly dried as a snack for thousands of years, we still use them today. ( * )

After eating them for this long, telling them apart should be a natural-born instinct. But we only see them dried, looking eerily similar. 

Let’s cover every difference between a fig and a date.

What are the physical differences between figs and dates?

image of fresh figs cut haft

Let’s start with the not-so-obvious; figs and dates have many variants, making it harder to tell them apart. But generally speaking, figs are round, and dates are oval-shaped. 

The color is not always telling; figs can be dark or white, but dates have a brownish color most of the time.

On the surface, figs are tougher and rocky, whereas dates are smoother. Fresh dates are more oily and juicy, spilling everywhere.

Dried figs are usually white, but there’s a delicious variant of dark purple Iranian figs that resembles dates when dried.

Differences in origin between figs and dates

image of dates

You can find both in the hot parts of Iran, dating back to prehistoric times. Dates are one of the oldest cultivated plants, alongside onions, dating back to the Bronze Age.

According to science, figs are inverted flowers rather than fruits. They are originally from Western Asia and the Mediterranean.

At the same time, date palm trees are widely known and cultivated, with some mystery surrounding their origin.

They are so ancient that it’s hard to tell exactly where they came from. The best guesses are the lands of Mesopotamia and Egypt.

Today, when you buy dates from the grocery store, they come from the scorching hot parts of Iran.

Shockingly, their cultivation makes figs unsuitable for vegans. Wasps are used to pollinate them, but sadly, during the process, many die a slow death inside the fig. ( * )

But don’t worry, you’re not eating dead insects with the store-bought figs. They are removed before being sold industrially.

Although they are not plant-cousins, there are a lot of similarities between figs and dates.

How are figs & dates the same?

First and foremost, they are mixed up due to their matching properties; similarity in nutritional value, usability, taste, and sometimes even appearance.

These faux-twins share similarly high potassium, magnesium, and protein levels. Also, dietary fiber, copper, zinc, and calcium. ( * )

The two are mostly eaten dried and packed with energy and sugar. Still, both are considered healthy, with lots of antioxidants and medical benefits.

Whatever happens to a date in the kitchen, you can do the same with figs. They are perfectly interchangeable in gastronomy.

What are the main differences between dates and figs?

The differences are plenty, so let’s see the most prominent ones:

  • Figs are less sweet, with fewer sugars.
  • Figs have half the fiber content of dates.
  • Figs have fewer calories, about half of dates.
  • Dates taste caramel-like, while figs resemble honey.
  • Dates contain more carbohydrates.
  • Figs have more vitamins A, K, and C.
  • Dates are richer in vitamins B5, B6, and foliates.

Fun Fact: Figs affect your hormones as well. According to several studies, they remove harmful, excess estrogen that can wreak havoc on your mood and immune system. ( * )

It also lowers the chance of breast and reproductive cancers and can protect you from Alzheimer’s. 

After these impressive benefits, let’s see your most frequently asked questions about the difference between dates and figs.

FAQs 

Conclusion

Even so, dates and figs are not the same; they share similarities. After scoring what each offers, we concluded that figs are way healthier.

In a vegan diet, figs have no place due to flocks of wasps dying to pollinate them each year.

However, if you’re calorie or sugar-conscious, dates are not a good fit for you. Despite the health benefits, they pack the energy to become a Sumo wrestler.

We strongly suggest you try fresh figs instead of dried ones and pair them with savory roasts. It’s an unforgettable culinary experience!

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