The Barbarian Fig


   The barbarian fig (thakarmousth) is a fruit which is difficult to pick and even risks for those who do not master the technique of its gathering, but which nevertheless remains much appreciated by all kabyles. The picking of the prickly pears is most painful, it requires experience and fingering to avoid the many risks involved in the operation, knowing that the fruit is enveloped by very thin thorns in the form of down that fly away at the slightest touch. Thus,the fruit must be gathered with the utmost caution.

    In order to reduce the risk, a cane is made using a branch of oleander, terminated by three stems, which serve as hooks for pulling out the fruit by a slight twisting of the cane in order to pick it between these hooks without damaging it. The second phase consists of cleaning the fig and removing the thorns with a clump of grass or a branch of an olive tree with light tapes. These fruits are then put into reed baskets or simple paint packaging cans. The prickly pear does not consume hot, it must be fresh.

   The prickly pear, this exotic fruit, is very appreciated for its taste and its various properties in spite of the fact that it is feared for its thorns. Rich in vitamins and calories, prickly pear also has medicinal properties that can treat certain diseases such as obesity. For that reason, exhibition rooms are dedicated to this miraculous fruit in the Soummam valley as well as in Tizi Ouzou, showing all the virtues and values of a fruit that grows on its own. The fruit is, however, very rich. This fruit that does not need any maintenance and is adapted to all the climatic conditions and which was much appreciated by the old generations has lost its aura today, especially among young people who are reluctant to consume it. The barbaric fig, or Akermus, is a nourishing fruit, strongly replied in Kabylia, but it remains marginalized by the local population. From Tazmalt, passing through Akbou, Ouzellaguen, Takrietz, Sidi-Aïch to the town of Bgayet(regions in bejaia city), many young people devote themselves to the marketing of this fruit, offering it to users of this road at variable price.

    Scientific studies have proved that in addition to the nutritional qualities of the prickly pear: low in calories, rich in water, sugar, mineral salts, vitamins A and C and fibers ... other therapeutic and medical virtues are attributed to him. It’s very rare oil, rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids, has remarkable antioxidant and anti-free radicals. Moroccan healers used it as a balm to clear the scars, as it helps the skin to restructure the skin tissues, including the face and neck, restoring firmness, tone and elasticity. It is an excellent antibody used in cosmetics because it regenerates the cells and repairs the fibers of collagen and elastin. Besides all these virtues, the prickly pear can be used in gastronomy to make different dishes. In Kabylia, the barbaric fig is consumed only as a fruit. All its other multiple uses are ignored or neglected.

   The barbarian fig is considered as a kabylian heritage. The Cactus is a plant that farmers plant in rugged terrain. It is used as windbreaker and fence to their own lands for not letting human pass through because of the thorns that it carries. Also, the cactus, the shrub of prickly pear, has a great importance in the fight against erosion and landslides.

The Barbarian Fig written by ARAB Sabrina

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