د . إAEDSRر . س

It’s Bajtar Season, Baby! Malta’s Gorgeous Purple Pears Are In Full Bloom On Instagram

1
Article Featured Image

Malta gets a lot of flak for not having much greenery around, but we may occasionally find ourselves missing the forest for the trees – or in this case – missing the cacti lining the streets.

Opuntia ficus-indica, that’s prickly pear or bajtar tax-xewk to you and me, are abundant on the island of Malta and are not often enough given the glory they deserve.

Also known around the world as the Barbary fig, these green giants are everywhere and we think it’s time we started to show our beloved bajtar the love they are entitled to.

Just look at all the pretty colours…

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Celine Debono (@celine_debono) on

The word ‘cactus’ is derived from the Greek word kaktos which meant ‘prickly plant’. The little spines protruding from the pads are called glochids.

It wouldn’t be summer in Malta without the beautiful yellow sprouts of bajtar fruits.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Mikaela Scholey (@mikwithaknotac) on

The red bulbs are also referred to a tuna, but did you know that the prickly pear cactus is both a fruit and a vegetable? The fruit is, of course, edible but you’d be a fool to not make sure you’ve removed every fine hair spine from them before taking a bite as you wouldn’t exactly want one of them lodging in your throat. Ouch!

The green pads are considered a vegetable in many countries, best harvested towards the end of spring.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Stef Spiteri (@stefspiteri) on

Slice, dice and fry. Never look back.

Maltese ceramic artist, Lara Hannah Camilleri, loves the prickly plant so much she incorporates their beauty into her designs.

And they are absolutely fucking adorable.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Lara H Camilleri (@larahannahcamilleri) on

I declare that henceforth, I shall only be eating my breakfast eggs out of one of these fabulous prickly pear eggcups.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Lara H Camilleri (@larahannahcamilleri) on

Those green pads aren’t actually leaves, either. They’re actually an evolutionary modification of branches that serve several different functions for the plant – because they are green and provide the plant with energy through photosynthesis, they are often mistaken for leaves but it’s the spines that protrude from the branches that are actually the leaves of the plant (another Darwinian marvel).

Italy has lemon sorbet. Malta? Well, we have prickly pears and lemon sorbet, too, but we definitely need to make bajtar sorbet a thing.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Llewwlyn Xerri (@xerrllew) on

There really is no limit to where these little pears can take you and your tastebuds.

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Chrys Brace (@chrys_mangion) on

And the flowers of the plant are a splash of colour Malta really could do with at the moment.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Liana DeBattista (@liladeb) on

David Attenborough wants us to save the bees and in Malta the best thing we could do to assist the great man’s efforts would be to protect our goddamned cactus.

With a rainbow of reds, the prickly pear really is a staple of the Maltese landscape.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Maria :/ (@mariascic_) on

Also available in seafoam green, cyber yellow and sangria purple.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Adrienne Pomroy (@pomroyadrienne) on

Basically: bajtar is everything.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Lovin Malta (@lovinmalta) on

Don’t be prick! Share this article with your friends and spread the bajtar love.

READ NEXT: Ever Thought About Cooking With Cactus In Malta? Here’s Your First Recipe To Try

You may also love

View All

lovinmalta.com says

Do you agree to share your location with us?