Has anyone used figs leaves to make Rennet on here?

bricore_2007February 26, 2008


I love making cheese. I am also looking at growing some figs. I know you can use fig leaves to make rennet but I would LOVE to learn more about it.

If, anyone has done it please tell me.. I am a sponge when it comes to making my cheeses and really wanting to learn to do this.

Thank you for your time,

Dora Renee' Wilkerson

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My grandparents back in the old country used a method of this, but have no idea, and never actually seen the process being done. They just talked about it. Ciao

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 1:19PM
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pezzuti9(z5 PA)

Hello bricore_2007,
Read the articles on this site it may provide something.
Lou NE., PA

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 1:50PM
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I love that site but they make it with a stomach. I know people used to do it with figs and nettles but I can't seem to find any where that shows how.

I know it's cheap to buy but that's not the point really. I could buy my cheese and fruits too. I just love to try to make things on my own if I can. I am going to keep on looking (thank-you both tho!)

Dora Renee' Wilkerson

If, you or anyone else come across anything ever on it please pass along the information (I'd love to learn how to do this.) Thanks again!

Here is a link that might be useful: Y2-K Hippie

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 2:02PM
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What a neat idea, we are new to growing figs.(I have never even tasted one)so I don't have a answer to your question but will keep my ears out. We own a herd of dairy goats and are constantly making cheese but I use the regular rennet. I am interested in maybe curing the leaves of the fig to use as a wrap for some of our cheeses though. Somewhere I have seen the recipe for making rennet out of nettles,Countryside mag probably, I'll see if I can find it. Mollie

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 11:48AM
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I found veggie rennet all over the net with reference to not only using fig leaves but the bark (in Roman times) and the latex (the milky substance). The latex is captured like maple is from its tree. No where did I find an actual recipe for cheese using fig enzymes. I did find reference to 3 ml of fig latex per batch but it didn't mention how many gallons of milk in the batch.

I also saw a recipe on the Net for using nettles to make rennet. Try substituting fig leaves for nettle and let us know if it works:

1 qt Nettle
1 qt water
1 tsp. salt
Simmer in well covered pot for 10 mins. strain and add to warm milk. One cup of liquid will curdle 4 qts. of milk.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 12:46PM
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I am going to have to go search for some Nettles now..lol..
Are Nettles the same as Stinging Nettles? I am guess they are put as soon as I do that I am sure to be wrong.lol..

If, I hear of how and how much with the figs I'll post back here too.

Thanks again for posting about the nettles! I will give it a try for sure.

Dora Renee' Wilkerson

I'll also check out my old magazines and see if I can find something about it in there. :)

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 3:20PM
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Yes, stinging nettles, so wear gloves if you try them. Formic acid burns like heck!
I've emailed a friend in Italy to see if he or his mom might know of an old recipe.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 5:08PM
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This site is great. You all are just wonderful. I'll be all ears if you get that recipe Sue!

Thanks again,

Dora Renee' Wilkerson

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 5:44PM
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I located an interesting text that mentions using milk from fig leaves. The title of this translation is '16th Century Italian Cheese Recipes' and this is derived from a translation from the book 'Compendio de i Secreti Rationali di M. Leonardo Fiorvanti Bolognese, Medico & Cirugico (Compendium of Rational Secrets of M. Leonardo Fiorvanti of Bologna, Medic and Surgeon)' This all comes from From StefanÂs Florilegium - Society for Creative Anachronism.


Here is a link that might be useful: 16th Century Italian Cheese Recipes

    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 10:12AM
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steve_nj8(6a NJ)

Ingevald - You came through again. If anyone could find a 16th century italian reference to fig leaf milk, it would be you.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 12:28PM
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Ficin is the proteolytic enzyme in fig latex that curdles cheese. You might be able to find some cheese recipes using ficin.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 9:18PM
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Scott -
Thanks for the technical information - I'll look into it.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 11:05PM
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I just located another reference to using figs for making cheese. This is the Flora of Pakistan site. The quote is as follows, "The fruit is eaten and the plants are grazed by goats, sheep, camels. white milk is used for turning milk into cheese." It is the last sentence in the text entry.


Here is a link that might be useful: Flora of Pakistan

    Bookmark   October 6, 2008 at 2:50PM
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Well, using a different search terms turned up some more interesting information on the use of fig latex for cheese making, etc.

Brined Cheeses by A.Y. Tamine - page 158 on this Google book search (do a book search on Google Books if this address is out of control) - http://books.google.com/books?id=acVq7-yOXuUC&pg=PA158&lpg=PA158&dq=%22fig+latex%22+cheese+making&source=web&ots=J0cOKqNaT-&sig=VoO7j_M1wgwXvl-HlJMrzMXTzMU&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=2&ct=result
This is a very interesting reference about the use of fig latex. The most interesting point is that one drop of the latex coagulates 1 litre of milk.

Figs (growth, varieties and usage) from Art Culinaire http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/gi_0199-2309920/Figs-growth-varieties-and-usage.html This is a hard to read web page, but the excerpted article contains some useful information about the fig latex's antibacterial and anti-parasitic properties, meat tenderizing, and thickening agent. The latex prevents gelatin from setting up.

Agroforestry Development in Kenya - p 405 on the pdf document tracking number - http://www.worldagroforestry.org/downloads/publications/PDFS/79_Agroforestry_development_in_kenya.pdf Large pdf file and it only has a brief reference to the use of fig latex - 30 to 100 times higher clotting factor than animal rennet, used in medicine and junkets.

Fig Rennet in the Iliad - http://www.cheesescience.net/2008/07/fig-rennet-in-iliad.html This is quite an ancient reference to coagulation of milk from fig milk.

One document that I can't access at home is Natalis Urbis and Principium Anni by Van L. Johnson. The search quote is as follows, "the milk of the fig was used to coagulate milk in the making of cheese..." This one is located on JSTOR. http://www.jstor.org/pss/283846 (I haven't seen the article yet but it might be interesting)

Ok - enough obscure yet fascinating information!


    Bookmark   October 6, 2008 at 5:43PM
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Well, I came across another historical document that belongs under this category of rennet from figs. Aristotle wrote a book called The Generation of Animals around 350 BC. The first link is to a Google scanned book. Search for terms like fig or rennet to find the reference.


The second source is this PDF file which should work - http://d.scribd.com/docs/217hhd8h8fh41o9zozrr.pdf Again, you can search for the terms.

Ingevald -

    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 8:39PM
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I just read an amazing article in Culture magazine that talks about using Thistle for rennet. they explain that this is an ancient traditional method in portugal using sheep milk.
take the stamen from cardoons and dry them out. soak in water and add to milk at 80 degrees.
i cant wait to try it out! i have also been looking for fig rennet recipes.
i am going to try to boil the leaves in water and add to milk and see what happens :)

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 12:49AM
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Funny this should come up. I mentioned to someone 2 weeks ago that I grew figs, and she said that she had heard that you can use fig sap in cheese making. She said that the branches of the tree were used, cut into small lengths to allow the sap to escape. She was of Italian heritage.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 9:12AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

I'm bumping this because the whole topic is interesting to me.

Today I harvested a couple pounds of jalapeno peppers, and began researching ways to make hot sauce. Evidently tobasco sauce is made by letting the peppers ferment with a layer of salt on them for 3 years in oak. Others try this trick and speed it up with sour dough starter (which I have), or yogurt.

I was wondering if the fig sap would do something to it? I got peppers running out my ears, so I am up for experimentating!! I spelled that wrong on purpose!!

I'll name my hot sauce "fermentated," and in the future, I'll add some figs for a sweet kick!

After reading this thread, that fig sap and rennet have things in common, but I doubt that they are yeasty, which is what I'm after.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 1:59PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

So I read all of your posts. And the drill appears to be one drop of fig latex to 1 liter of milk. Interesting, and I may be making my first cheese soon! I am going to follow the links you provided to the recipes.

I feel sad every time I pinch my fig tree growth to see that latex drop. It's necessary to shape the tree, and get more figs, but it just seems awful to watch that little tree bleed. NOW, a whole new light has been shed on the scene, and I'll just let it drop it's latex into a cup of milk!!

Thanks for the links and this thread!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 3:49PM
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Thanks all for your educational and fun postings on this subject. We are going to try the nettles and will let you know how it goes. Interesting about the bromelain: pineapple flavored cheese? hmmmm. also, whats' the difference between making cottage cheese, feta and hard cheeses?

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 1:09PM
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    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 10:50PM
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