Aglio Rosso di Nubia

A bunch of Nubian garlic in “Nonna’s kitchen”

Aside from keeping vampires at bay garlic is perhaps one of the most important ingredients to keep in ones kitchen.

Red Nubian garlic in a wooden bowl

The nutritional and health benefits of garlic have been known for thousands of years. In sicily, certainly in and around the town of Trapani, the Aglio Rosso di Nubia is a common sight. It is grown in the countryside centred on the village of Nubia, just outside Trapani in the direction of Marsala.

While a single clove of garlic is not going to have a significant impact, health-wise, a 100 gms (rather a lot even spread throughout the day) offers significant qualtities of vitamins B6 and C, and the dietary minerals manganese and phosphorus (approx 20% of daily need).

I once ate a whole garlic bulb that had been roasted. Delicious at the time but I suspect those near me weren’t so pleased with the garlic smell that stayed with me till next day!

Source: US Department of Agriculture

Garlic has been used medicinally as a cold remedy, though it seems there is no evidence to prove it works. It does have anti-bacterial properties and may be beneficial in reducing hypertension and some forms of cancer.

Personally I enjoy garlic with soups, sauces and salads and will take it with honey if I have a cold.

Where it is from:


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       A handful of ripe, partially ripe and unripe Pitanga fruit

Found in Brazil and several South American and Caribbean countries pitanga is a fruit with an unusual shape – like a small Chinese lantern. It is known by a number of names, depending on the country, though pitanga and Brazilian cherry are probably the most well known – I have seen the name Barbados Cherry incorrectly applied to pitanga since Barbados Cherry is an alternate name for acerola (Malpighia emarginata) hence I always include the scientific name when referring to plants or animals to avert confusion. The scientific name of pitanga is Eugenia uniflora.

The plants are also to be found in parts of Africa and in India where, apparently, the plant originated. Many fruit trees have been, over the centuries, taken from their place of origin to become established on another continent. This can be said of pitanga, mango, cashew and cocoa among others.

The plant itself is a large shrub/small tree that can be grown easily within its range as an ornamental specimen, a hedge or specifically for its fruit. It is an important plant with benefits derived from both its fruit and leaves.



   Ripe fruit on the tree                       Flower buds and partially ripe fruit

The fruit starts life as a dainty white flower before natural transformation takes it from a small green swelling at the end of the peduncle behind the sepals, growing to its final shape and size while still green, then changing through yellow to bright red.

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          Delicate white, four-petaled flower of the Pitanga shrub


The leaves, which can be made into a tea with medicinal benefits, start life as a reddish/bronzy colour before turning green.

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 New leaf growth starts out a reddish bronze hue before turning green

The fruit can be used green (in cooking as a flavouring or as a chutney ingredient) or fully ripe (red) to be eaten raw, made into jam or juice. When fully ripe the fruit is soft and sweet with a taste similar to that of sweet, juicy orange.

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Unripe fruit can be used in sauces and chutney



Pitanga is rich in vitamin C, also providing vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin), and vitamin A. Its mineral content includes calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.

Eating the fruit helps in weight loss or weight maintenance regimes as pitanga is low in calories and acts in reducing excess body fat.

Medicinal benefits

Many fruits have traditional or tested medicinal benefits. Among them, pitanga has numerous including anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antifungal properties. Beneficial applications include cardiovascular, cancer, skin, eye and common cold treatment.


Eat raw to obtain the best benefit. The seeds are not edible but the skin and pulp can be eaten or made into a juice.

Cooking: remove the seeds, chop and add to whatever dish is being prepared.



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NB: While Alan Skyrme has a number of diplomas in Nutrition it is strongly recommended that the latest available analyses of the nutritional contents and benefits are obtained from appropriate sources. Those provided here are indicative only and may be incomplete.