Greek Prickly Pears

Print Friendly and PDF
Although it is not exclusive to Greece, the Prickly Pear Tree grows prolifically in many areas here. It is a delicious fruit and we are now busy eating the prickly pears here!

Prickly pears here are called either Frangosyka (Frankish Figs) or Pavlosyka (Paul's Figs). The latter name is used only in Corfu as far as I know and, though it is not certain, I have been told that the name comes from Pavliana, a part of the island where they were originally prolific. If anyone has any more information on this, then I would be glad to here from you.

Although we say 'tree', it is really a cactus plant and grows easily and prolifically in many areas in southern Europe. In Corfu you can find the plants all over the island. The name 'prickly pear' comes from the fact that the fruit has large, sharp thorns which make it difficult to handle. The photo above is of a large, sprawling cactus on our neighbour Soula's land.

An interesting and perhaps little known fact is that researchers from the University of South Florida have found that mucilage from the prickly pear cactus is a natural water purifier. Their researches revealed that the thick gum produced by the cactus could capably filter 98 percent of the bacteria Bacillus cereus from the polluted water. You can read more about this here in a post from my other blog.

You can see in the photo below how the fruit is picked. The tin-shaped part at the top of the long handle is hollow so that you can enclose the fruit in it and then twist and pull it off and put it straight into the bucket or basket. This means that you avoid having to handle the thorns. You'll notice it has two sizes to accommodate for different sized fruit! This is the cutting edge of village technology!

This is Soula showing the fruit that she's just picked.

These are some of the Frangosyka that we picked.

Again, when you are peeling the fruit, you have to be careful of the thorns. As well as the large, obvious thorns, there are tiny little hair-like thorns that take an age to get out of your fingers - ask me!

You can see one way of peeling in the photo below, using a fork to hold the fruit and a knife to peel it. The final photo shows the fruit as it is once the skin has been removed. I can tell you it's definitely worth the effort! The juicy fruit is definitely one of my favourites and especially if you keep it in the fridge before eating.

First, cut off the end.

Slice the skin lengthwise.

Peel off the skin to reveal the inner fruit.

The fruit ready to eat. You can see the seeds here as well. Delicious!


Sharkbytes said...

Once in a while these are available here where I shop (probably from US, not Greece) but they have a nice flavor.

Artemis said...

That's great! I've recently made a video on that actually:
(showing how to peel the fruit)
Take care =)

Auntie E's Garden said...

I love Prickly Pear jelly and I think it would make a great pie of sorts. we have it out west and now with the transportation so widely through out American , you can get the jelly everywhere.

symposio said...

Yes, Sharkbytes, I expect they'll be from the US. They're really delicious and I especially like to keep them in the fridge for a while before eating them - really cool and refreshing!

A pie, Auntie E! That sounds like a great idea - you've got me thinking!

KC said...

Interesting! I haven't heard of this fruit before... Looks yummy! Hope I'll be able to taste it in the future!!! ^_^

Eric : Blog De Manila said...

Honestly, I'm not aware that the fruit of cactus can be eaten. We used to have this in our backyard but we didn't pay attention to it. We even let our goats eat them.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Web Analytics