Fruits (Prickly pears, Figs, Raisins, Pears, Quinces)

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Prickly pears

The prickly pear plant that grows on the peninsula of Mani is of particular interest. Rows of this aggressive looking plant are widely used to define property lines. But during summer months, this effective fence produces unique taste fruits.

Special tools have been invented in order to collect and peel these thorny but rich in nutrients fruits.

The consumption of prickly pears is widespread both among locals and visitors. In the past, the leaf of the prickly pear plant was considered a delicacy. While still tender and before thorns grew on it, it was split in two, baked and eaten like a sweet pie.

It was also used in the cleaning of saws as it helped remove the pieces of wood that were left on the blade. Moreover, due to its healing properties, the prickly pear plant leaf was used to prepare poultice for wounds.

Did you know that…?

  • Collecting and peeling prickly pears requires great care. It is advisable to ask about the way they should be peeled.
  • It is very rich in potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin K and fiber.
  • It can be used to prepare jam, marmalade and liquor …
  • Prickly pears require great care when peeling. To peel a prickly pear first you make three cuts on it.  You make two deep, vertical cuts at the ends, and a horizontal one, connecting the other two and as deep as the peel, in the middle of the fruit:

 

The prickly pear has an ovular shape. Cuts A and B give the fruit a cylindrical shape. Cut C cuts the peel vertically. The peel can now be detached with a simple pull.

This drawing shows how to peel a prickly pear using a fork and knife. The numbers indicate the order of the cuts. After the three cuts are made, the peel is removed and the pulp of the fruit is removed by hand or with a fork.

The fig tree

ΣύκοFig trees thrive in Mani. Figs mature and are harvested from late July until September. In the past, figs were systematically gathered and dried in order to meet the population’s nutritional needs for a whole year. Due to their otherwise poor diet, people used to eat dried figs with walnuts and oregano, a food combination of high nutritional value. In the drying process, oregano was used as a natural preservative.

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