Friday, September 7, 2012

Malta's summer fruits

Malta figs, the variety known as 'St John figs'
Among the things I miss from Malta are some of the fruits that grow in abundance on the Maltese islands, especially in the hot summer months. In particular I love figs, which I can never find here in Oregon, other than the dried variety. 

Maturing figs and young figs on the same branch
When I was a young boy, one of my duties was to collect as many figs as possible from my grandmother’s huge fig tree she had in her garden. I would fill three to four bucketfuls of large figs, with another bucketful going into my stomach, while perched on one of the branches or strong limbs, hiding among the leaves so that no one will see me eating away.
21 clearly visible prickly pears on just one cactus leaf
Another fruit that grows in abundance are prickly pears, growing on cactus leaves in fields with no irrigation or water at all. They just pop out every year and many people do not even bother to pick them up, and let them decay or rot. Some people do pick them and sell them, after peeling of the skin, which is covered with thorns. There are as many as 20 to 30 pears on each leaf at times, as you can see from these photos I took in the summer of 2006. They usually grow as yellow, green and red, and of course children always prefer the red ones. Some people dislike them because they have a lot of pits, but then again, it’s better to just close your eyes, eat them and let nature take care of the rest. Next week I will share with you two other fruits that grow in Malta and which are not popular in other countries, loquat and pomegranates.

1 comment:

  1. Father, You have brought forward many wonderful memories from my childhood in the San Fernando valley of southern California when it was still rural. We had several fig trees: brown turkey and mission varieties, and I, too, so miss having fresh figs to eat. What a treat! We had a pomegranate bush which produced well, and one year my Mom even made pomegranate jelly--what a task extracting the juice from all those seeds! My grandparents had a loquat tree and I loved to eat those fruits, too. I never got to taste a prickly pear, though my Mom talked about it and I saw them growing in the deserts southeast of us. Thank you so much for resurrecting such wonderful memories!

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