Figs and dates may seem quite similar, as they’re both easy to snack on and often eaten dried.
While they share some properties, these fruits also have very unique differences.
This article explores the main similarities and differences between figs and dates.
Two separate fruits
Although figs and dates may be sweet and fibrous, they’re two entirely different plants.
Dates are the fruit of the date palm tree (Phoenix dactylifera), while figs are harvested from the fig tree (Ficus carica).
Traditionally grown in the Middle East and North Africa, dates are cultivated in many tropical regions around the world today. While numerous varieties exist, popular kinds include Medjool and Deglet Nour.
Figs are native to the Middle East but were also traditionally grown in Western Asia and the Mediterranean.
Technically speaking, figs are inverted flowers that require a special pollination process by fig wasps.
Both fruits can be enjoyed fresh or dried, but most dates and figs sold in the United States are dried due to their limited seasonality.
Although figs and dates may appear to be related, they’re two separate species of fruit with distinct botanical properties.
Both are very nutritious
Though figs and dates come from different plants, they’re alike in their nutritional profiles.
A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of either fruit, dried, provides the following nutrients:
|Carbs||64 grams||75 grams|
|Sugar||48 grams||63 grams|
|Fiber||10 grams||8 grams|
|Fat||1 gram||0.4 grams|
|Protein||3 grams||2.5 grams|
|Potassium||14% of the RDI||14% of the RDI|
|Magnesium||16% of the RDI||14% of the RDI|
|Calcium||20% of the RDI||3% of the RDI|
As you can see, these fruits have very similar calorie contents. Per serving, dates provide slightly more carbs and less fat than figs.
Both are an excellent source of dietary fiber and other important nutrients, such as potassium and magnesium. One 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of figs boasts an impressive 20% of your daily calcium needs.
Likewise, they’re a good source of antioxidants, which fight harmful free radicals in your body and may contribute to many of these fruits’ recognized health benefits.
Dates and figs are similar in their nutritional makeup. They have similar carb and calorie contents and are an excellent source of fiber, potassium, and magnesium.
Differences in color and texture
While dates and figs may look similar at first glance, a closer inspection reveals differences in their appearance and texture.
Depending on the variety, fresh figs can be golden yellow to deep purple in color, while dried dates are usually deep brown with a reddish undertone.
Dates are ovular and wrinkled, somewhat resembling a large raisin, while figs are rounder and plump. Dried dates also tend to be much stickier than dried figs.
Another major difference is their mouthfeel. Figs boast hundreds of tiny seeds on the inside, which add a crunchy texture unlike the seedless and smooth flesh of dates.
The many seeds inside figs provide a crunchy texture, while dates are sticky. These fruits also differ in their coloring.
Dates taste much sweeter than figs
While both fruits are sweet, dates are markedly sweeter than figs — packing over 30% more sugar.
In fact, some varieties of dates, such as Medjool, have an almost caramel-like taste.
Meanwhile, you might find that figs have a flavor similar to that of berries.
Nonetheless, both fruits make a delicious snack bursting with sweetness.
Dates are noticeably sweeter than figs. While figs are described as having a berry-like flavor, particular varieties of dates may taste closer to caramel.
The bottom line
Dates and figs are tasty fruits with similar nutrient profiles.
While they both boast plentiful amounts of magnesium, potassium, and fiber, figs generally pack more calcium. Dates are higher in sugar but lower in fat.
What’s more, dates are sticky while figs are slightly crunchy due to their many seeds.
Both foods are commonly eaten dried and make a great addition to a healthy diet.
Title: What’s the Difference Between Dates and Figs?