Painless Prickly Pears

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When I first arrived in Tenerife I was intrigued to learn that the fruits of the cactus that are to be found in every nook and cranny on the island are edible. So was my husband who leapt out of the car to pick a few from a roadside plant.

Unfortunately no-one had warned him about the fine prickly hairs that cover the pears. As soon as he had grabbed a couple he yelped and chucked them into the back seat of the car where they rolled about concealing their almost invisible spikes in the seat covers.

With two young nephews visiting the island it could all have ended in tears but not to worry because my bum saved the day by picking up all the prickly devils on the back of my jeans. For all the tiny size of them, the spines on prickly pears are persistent, painful and hard to see. It took some time with a flashlight and a pair of tweezers before my tender derriere was free of the damn things.

Hard as times are, hopefully we won’t all end up out there vying with the cabras and conejos for the best of the free forage but that doesn’t mean you should let a few pesky prickles stand between you and a roadside snack. There are ways to harvest prickly pears without the added excitement of having to extract spines from your nether regions.

First rule is to pick them wearing gloves, or at least with a plastic bag barrier between your skin and the cactus spikes. Then you get them home safely without throwing them on to the back seat of the car by carrying them in the plastic bag.

Once home, fold a couple of layers of kitchen paper to form two pads and pass the pears from pad to pad. The spines break off in the paper which you can then chuck in the bin. Even so, remember these tiny spines are very hard to see so don’t touch the unpeeled pear with your bare hands.

Now you can slice the skin off top and bottom, then run a knife up the pear’s centre, peeling it off. The peeled fruit is now ready to enjoy however you want to eat it. Some people prefer the juice and use it in cocktails or to make candy, while others like them as they are, seeds and all. Try crushing them with ice and a little water for a refreshing afternoon drink. It’s even better with a splash (or a great big splosh) of vodka.

Tenerife Time Travel – The Guanche Giant

Guanche Mencey at La MatanzaIt is said that the more things change, the more they stay the same. It’s also true, that no matter how much we are separated by time, space or culture, throughout history humans have invented and enjoyed telling the same kind of legends. Tales of giants have been told down the ages across Europe, Latin America, much of Asia, India”¦

The 1760 publication “˜The Modern Part of an Universal History: From the Earliest Account of Time‘ is a collection of essays by authors of the period. This passage, which describes the memoirs of adventurer Sir Edmund Scorey, illustrates that in long ago Tenerife, the Guanches also told tall tales of giant ancestors. And according to the writer’s description of the desecration of the “˜corpse’, yesterday’s travellers showed no more respect for the culture of others than many do today.


The Guanches of Tenerife, in particular, were well-made, handsome, and robust; nay, in general, of a gigantic stature. There was, in Scorey’s time, the skull of one of them to be seen in the sepulchre of the Guimar kings, which had eighty teeth, and the skeleton of the body measuring fifteen feet; but Scorey does not pretend that he had seen it; and it is probable it was little more than the tradition of the natives, who might have such tales of their ancestors as are common among the vulgar of all countries.

Several gentlemen being one day employed in hunting a rabbit, the little animal run into a cave, and was pursued by one of the company, who, upon entering in a hurry, was terrified with the sight of a corpse of a gigantic stature. His cries alarmed the company; but, before their arrival, recollecting that it was a sepulchral cave of the Guanches, his fears were dissipated. Upon this, he cut off a piece of skin from the breast of the body, which your author had seen, and affirms was softer, smoother, tougher, stronger and more pliable, than the best-prepared kid-skin which probably was no other than the goat-fleece in which they wrapped the embalmed bodies.

We are the more confirmed in this opinion, because a sensible gentleman of the faculty, after residing twenty years in the island, had, with the utmost difficulty, access to the sepulchral caves. This is a favour scarce ever granted, and not attempted without leave, but at the risk of one’s life. He obtained permission, and was even conducted to the tombs, in consequence of the esteem of the people, which he had gained by several services he had done for them in the way of his profession. The following story, which he relates, seems, however, to corroborate the testimony of Scorey.

Related:

Tenerife Time Travel – El Pico Del Teide

5 Tips Before You Buy Property in Tenerife

Ramshackle-HouseIt doesn’t matter how many times you have visited Tenerife on holiday, the time that you arrive with all your worldly possessions ready to set up home, is like no other. Full of excitement and hope for your new life in the sun, there are a few things you might do to make your transition from tourist to Tenerife property owner a success.

Rent Before You Buy

Putting down roots somewhere is very different from offending the locals by gadding about in bikini top and bum-biting shorts. Things that you may not even notice when you are on the island for a brief two weeks may assume Teide-like proportions when you have to live with them day to day. Imagine buying a ground floor, pool-front apartment only to find that the indescribable pong that assails you every time you leave the house is caused by the complex’s overflowing sewage tank which just happens to be buried under your front doorstep. Funny how the seller forgot to mention that, eh?

Try Before You Buy

Again, just as a residence can take on a new and infinitely more annoying character once familiarity has bred contempt, so too can the charms of a residential area begin to pall. It might have seemed like a brilliant idea to make your home in the middle of Las Americas, but I wonder if you will still think so after a month’s worth of Saturday night bar brawls in the street outside your window.

Fly Before You Buy

Have you seen the exposes in the UK newpapers recently that uncovered pictorial real estate advertisements of gorgeous country cottages for sale? These are pictured in sparkling sunshine and shown in splendid isolation until, that is, you see the whole picture which includes the nearest neighbour – Sellafield Nuclear Plant. Well, while Tenerife’s professional and experienced estate agents would never pull such an underhand and sneaky trick (heaven forbid!) that is not to say that wee Bobby McGumpher won’t exaggerate the beauty of his one bedroom in Las Brisas for the sake of an extra couple of thousand pounds when he flogs it on eBay. Get on a plane and actually visit the property you are buying before kissing goodbye to your cash.

Cry Before You Bye

For some people, upping sticks and leaving home is as easy as switching off a light. As they gaze out the aeroplane window at their homeland getting smaller beneath them their thoughts are full of glorious tropical sunsets and making a new home amongst the vivid colours of a new land. Meanwhile their spouse, whose heart still belongs to Glasgow, is sobbing into the Sports Section and already missing the grandweans.

Homesickness is one of the main reasons for the big move to Tenerife to end in tears. Quite often, one partner is less excited by the idea of living two thousand miles from their family and friends than the other. While one spouse is happy to leave the screaming grandchildren and sponging son-in-law behind, the other dissolves in floods of tears at the sight of a newborn baby. At times like these, much sensitivity is required. “Ahh, get over it, you big girl’s blouse!” is not now, and never has been, the right thing to say. For anything. Ever!

Tenerife Time Travel – El Pico Del Teide

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First time visitors landing in Tenerife may notice the strange lunar dryness in the south or the lush, verdant foliage in the north. Indeed in a day they could make a complete tour of the island and view its crowning glory from all angles. It wasn’t always so easy.

Thirty years ago, the quickest way to get from one side of the world to the other involved an epic plane journey which included a lengthy stopover and could take well over 36 hours. However, this is still no more than a drop in the bucket for travellers who made long journeys 200 years ago.

But what did those ancient tourists make of El Pico del Teide, Tenerife and the Canary Islands and what can their reports tell us about how Tenerife has changed?

John Walker, a physician and author, made the trip in the late 1700’s and made some interesting observations – including one which hints at how global warming has affected Tenerife and the other Canary Islands over the last couple of hundred years. I don’t remember seeing snow last on Teide for more than 3 months at a time. Do you?

From the varieties of soil, climate and exposure in the Canary Islands, the valuable productions, of temperate and tropical countries, thrive in it. The animals are camels, deer, horses, asses, mules, cows, sheep, goats, hogs, rabbits, fowls, geese, ducks, etc. The island of Tenerife rises on all sides towards the Pike, in it’s centre, like a hanging garden, till within a league of the clouds which are not above mid-way up the Pike.

But there are no houses anywhere above three leagues from the sea. The first league from the shore produces vines, the next corn, the next woods of chestnut trees etc., interspersed with some corn.

Beyond these woods are the clouds which in fine weather come down in the evening, and rest on the woods till morning when they retire about a league. Where the clouds rest in the day, there are many pine trees, beyond which grows no grass or vegetable except a shrub called retama.

Of the Canary Islands, which there are seven in number, Tenerife is the most considerable. It is about 36 leagues in circumference. The latitude of its centre is 28 deg. 30 min. N. longitude, 16. deg. 25 min. W. from London.

The principal differences in the climates of these islands arise from the different elevations above the sea. For eight months of the year, their summits of them all, except Lanzarote and Fuerteventura are covered in snow. Yet, in their valleys and shores the cold is seldom so great as to render fires necessary. A very great proportion of the surfaces of all the Canaries is covered with lava, calcined stones, and the black dust of ashes, formerly emitted by volcanoes, the remains of which are still very visbible in all the islands and some of them, among which is the Pike of Tenerife are not yet extinguished.

Extract from: Elements of geography and of natural and civil history, by John Walker.

K9 Charity Race Night – November 26th

According to their website, K9 Animal Refuge currently has 75 animals looking for a home. Knowing that the volunteers there are always stretched to the limit, with probably very little time to keep the website updated, it is more than possible that this number is sadly out of date.

Even if the number is correct, the monthly cost of keeping that many animals in puppy chow, as well as veterinary bills and sheltering, is eye-watering.

Come along and support this worthy animal charity at a fun Charity Race Night hosted at The Globe, Costa Del Silencio.

Details are:

Event: Charity Race Night in aid of K9 Animal Refuge

Date: November 26th

Time: 20.00 hrs

In Aid of: K9 Animal Refuge

Where: The Globe Bar, Costa Del Silencio

Tel: Chris or Adam on: 637569770 or 617963814.

Tenerife Magazine’s guide to flirting in Spanish

Whilst having a dark-eyed Latino or Latina whispering sweet nothings in your shell-like is the stuff of fantasies for many, many holiday makers won’t be prepared for such vocal seduction. Until now. Use our handy “˜Flirting in Spanish guide’ to make sure you don’t miss out next time Latino love comes a calling.

Flirtatious Spanish compliments are called piropos and they range from the saccharine sweet to the sizzling and spicy.

Let’s start with the sugary sweet. Actually these are cheesier than yesterday’s socks and more likely to set your teeth on edge than make you weak at the knees, but hey, who knows? Whatever rocks your boat.

Oh, for the love of God”¦

Me gustaría ser una lágrima, para nacer en tus ojos, vivir en tus mejillas y morir en tus labios.
I would like to be a tear, to be born in your eyes, live on your cheeks and die on your lips.

Tardé una hora en conocerte y sólo un día en enamorarme. Pero me llevará toda una vida poder olvidarte.

It took me an hour to know you and only a day to fall in love. But it will take me a lifetime to be able to forget you.

Corny but cute”¦

De que jugetería te escapaste…¡Muñeca!
Hey, Doll! Which toyshop did you escape from?

Si la belleza fuera delito, yo te hubiera dado cadena perpetua.
If beauty was a crime, you would deserve life in prison.

Eres como el capuchino: caliente, dulce”¦ y me pones nervioso.
You’re like a cappuccino: hot, sweet, and you make me nervous.

Benny Hill-isms”¦

Mamacita, hace calor… nos quitamos la ropa.
Hey, Babe, it’s so hot. Let’s take our clothes off.

Run that by me again!

Tus ojos son negros y rasgados como mis calzoncillos.
Your eyes are as black and ragged as my underpants.