Fico d'India dell'Etna DOP grows on on the Southwestern side of the Etna, an active volcano in Sicily, the most Southern region of Italy. Summer is long and dry in this land, and there is an elevated thermic excursion during the year. The volcanic terrain Fico d'India dell'Etna grows on makes it even more peculiar.
The plant comes from Mexico, and it was brought to Sicily by the Spanish in XVI century. Because of its strength and durability in long drought periods and its capacity to grow in the cracks of rocks and crush them, it was used to break the cold lava flows on the slopes of the volcano.
Plants can grow up to five meters and make egg-shaped fruits with a juicy flesh. The skin is red tending towards brown and it is covered by thin spikes which can be removed by sinking the fruit in ice cold water. The taste is slightly sweet and it contains a lot of Vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium.
Fico d'India dell'Etna DOP has several healing features and it is useful as a diuretic, anti-inflammatory against burns, astringent and gastro-protector. It is eaten raw, but it used in ice creams, jams and cakes in general. It is very good with ham just like figs.