February 15th, 2017
Pa – pou – tsó – si – ka!
“Shoe figs”, man, what don’t you get?! 😀
I don’t know about you, but I find it very funny that in Cypriot Greek we call the prickly-pear, Opuntia ficus-Indica cactus plant (of Central-American origins) “papoutsosikiá” (παπουτσοσυκιά). Turkish Cypriots call it the báboutsa plant.
The word for the fruit (papoutsósiko, singular) literally means “shoe fig”, not surprisingly because the leaves of the plant look like the sole of a shoe.
Did you know that the whole cactus plant makes for great fire protection because of its slow-burning characteristics? In Cyprus we find it many times surrounding houses and cultivated fields.
If you are tempted to try the very nutritious fruit of the plant (they are freshest and juiciest between June – October), you have two reasons to proceed with caution:
a) the prickles on its skin (water them so that they are softer and easier to remove) and
b) the fruit’s seeds, which cause constipation if consumed in large quantities.