This blog is dedicated to Malta - my island home. My aim is not to bore you with history but to share my thoughts and a few facts together with a photo or two. For a more in -depth background of the island please go here. The purpose of this blog is not to point out the short-comings of the island. There are plenty that do that already. My wish is to show you the beauty of an island at the cross roads of the Mediterranean, a melting pot of history; a place where fact and fiction are sometimes fused to create unique myths and legends; a country that has been conquered so many times that our culture is a mish mesh of the lands that surround us and of lands far away. I confess that my greatest desire is to make you fall in love with this tiny enchanting island.


Monday 6 September 2010

Ruby Tuesday: A Most Unlikely Pear


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Perhaps you have seen them before. Perhaps you may have even eaten them. But there may be some among you who have never set eyes on these curious fruits. They go by the name of prickly pears. And prickly they certainly are. But pears? That they are not.


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The prickly pear is the fruit of a cactus known as Opuntia ficus-india which was introduced to the Mediterranean from the Americas. It grows liberally here and even with no care at all, these cacti are usually laden with fruit at this time of year.

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The fruit comes in three distinct colours: white, yellowish-orange and red. Once the firm, prickly skin is removed, the fleshy fruit can be eaten. Most prickly pears are very sweet and have a very characteristic taste. Here in Malta a liqueur called Bajtra (pronounced Baytra) is made from the fruit.

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I thought the red colour of these fruit would make an appropriate entry for this week’s Ruby Tuesday.


If you are interested in seeing other posts featuring the colour red, please visit  Mary at Work of the Poet.


  1. I have known about these for some time, but have never eaten them or seen the fruit without the skin. They are beautiful, and certainly fit Ruby Tuesday!

  2. Hi Loree..Wow..fabulous shots..amazing textures!
    Great post!!

  3. I love prickly pear...fresh (not at the store). A friend of mine tried them out in Junior High, I think I convinced her they were edible.

  4. PS...never knew they grew anywhere outside the US...how cool!

  5. same here I always thought that the this cactus was North American. Any way I have one that stands 2 meters tall and it bloomed and fruited for the first time last year.

  6. Wow! I wonder if they taste as delicious as they look!

  7. I think they are the most delicious fruits. We have plenty of them in Crete and I miss them here in Athens.
    Have a great day.

  8. I need to send this post to my mom and day! They have a prickly pear cactus but I don't believe they have ever cracked one open!

  9. How do they taste? They look like colorful yams.

    Happy Ruby.

    Maria @ LSS

  10. I have heard of the prickly pear but I have never seen one! Amazing colour for a cactus growth!

  11. i've heard of them too but never come so close ... they look really interesting.
    My Ruby Redness

  12. The once peeled photos are gorgeous and so appetising!

  13. Prickly pear, I remember a long time ago having some Prickly Pear jelly. We loved it.
    My Ruby Link for you

  14. I had only seen red prickly pear fruit. The bowl of three colors of peeled fruit is really gorgeous!

  15. Even though we lived in the Sonoran Desert for almost ten years, this is the first I have seen the peeled fruit, and we had prickly pear cactus all around us. The fruit in the bowl looks very juicy and the colors are brilliant.

  16. I have eaten the fruit already, I can buy them here on the market, but I never saw how they grow ! very interesting !

  17. We call them sabras in Israel, and we say that native-born Israelis are like sabras - prickly on the outside and sweet on the inside :).

    My photography is available for purchase - visit Around the Island Photography and bring home something beautiful today!

  18. Hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhm, I like them and tasted them in south Italia. Their colours are spectaculare. Hugs from Luzia.

  19. Thank you very much!!! you have some amazing photos! love them!!!

  20. Loree, so much information and beautiful photos as well! When I get to Malta (some day) I will have to try a sip of the Bajtra!

  21. My mouth is watering! They look delicious.


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