Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Good morning

Sunday morning and I was strolling around the garden with a pot of tea in one hand and a cigar in the other. Down the road I noticed the "higos chungos" glowing red against the broad green leaves in the early morning sun. I finished the tea and went to take some snaps and then had a look at Wikipedia. Apparently they are not called higos chungos but higos chumbos -  though it's apparently a common mistake. Chungo means something akin to dodgy, dicey or nasty and higo is fig; seemed reasonable enough - a dodgy sort of fig. We'd definitely been told they were called chungos.

Apparently the plant is Mexican in origin. The leaves of the cactus are eaten like vegetables and the fruit, well as fruit. In Spain the leaves are used as animal fodder but in my search for information I came across lots of Spanish recipes and childhood reminisences of the "We always used to get these as children when we went to see my gran at Christmas," type.

As we never got around to eating the thousands of ordinary figs that grew in our garden I don't imagine we'll be braving the spines of these prickly pears as part of our Christmas diet.

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