Fico d’India

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Back in Willow Grove, Don met a Sicilian guy who told us that we must try the fico d’India , literally, “fig of india,” Now, I know about figs, but what was this?

At this time of the year in Sicily, fichi d’India (plural) are plentiful. Indeed, we passed fields of cultivated cacti, mostly bare of their fruit, but the occasional cactus still sported a ruby, albeit spiny, gem.

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They’re plentiful in the markets and seem to be the kind of fruit that’s eaten “as is,” since they have so many seeds inside.

How to handle these little succulent fruits? Carefully. I fruttivendoli, fruit vendors wear rubber gloves. I asked a vendor in Donnalucata if we could taste one and he happily obliged. Then he gave us two with the warning, Attenta!! Be careful of the spines! I swear that every time I even came close to those due fichi I ended up with an invisible spine in a finger!

I asked Paolo in Avola, Per favore, mostrarmi, Please, show me ( how to peel it).

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It’s garnet-colored flesh is the prize hidden inside a thorny exterior.

Hmmm. . .just wondering if there’s message there??!

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