Blog ENG, Nature & Food, Rhodes island
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Walnut on Rhodes

Walnut is in every grocery now (early November) on Rhodes, and here everybody knows that the best walnut trees of the island are growing in the tiny mountain village, Salakos.

Just as Nisyros island has its wonderful traditional beverage made of almond (it is called ‘soumada’), also Salakos village has its characteristic homemade liquer made of walnut namely: ‘liker karidaki’.

Although for this recipe you have to collect young, unripe walnut fruits in May/June that have not formed their hard shells yet.

For one bottle you need:

about 10 walnuts, 2 cinnamon sticks, one spoon of cloves, half kilo sugar, finally half liter ‘souma’ (the spirit of the Dodecanese made from grape marc and wine). Place everything in a glass bottle and leave it on the sun for 20 days. Don’t forget to shake the bottle each day! 😉 At the end you’ll get a dark brown, bitter liquer which you can use as aperitif or as digestive aid.

‘Liker karidaki’, or walnut liquer of Salakos village / caption from the book ‘Makria mirodia’

And the very special spoon sweet (glika tou koutaliou) of Salakos is also made from the fresh unripe small walnuts! I am amazed by the fact that Greek housewifes are truly using the gifts of their garden and countryside throughout the year and transforming them into delicious food which serve as a bond between people.

Spoon sweets are at every Greek household made by women using various fruits. It is like a marmalade, but with less liquid, the point is the fruit. They serve it on tiny glass plates whenever they have visitors in their house. And because it is so sweet, they serve only a spoonful of it and they always serve it with a glass of water.

Every village, area and season has its specific spoon sweet. The one with the walnut is typical in Salakos village and it has also cloves and cinnamon in the recipe plus lemon juice.

And the walnut itself is exceptionally beneficial for our health being full of omega 3, vitamine E, dietary fibers, and it has the highest polyphenol content among other nuts. This means that walnut can be a good ally of someone with cardiovascular problems, diabetes, inflammation, plus it has neuroprotective and antiaging effects.

Black fingers after peeling walnut

Of course locals use the nuts too in food recipes. Here on the Dodecanese archipelago two islands are famous of their walnut cake: Kos and Leros. The Lerian ‘karidopita’ (or walnut cake) has a chocolate layer on top which reminds me of my Hungarian grandmother’s similar walnut cake (but that one is like real heaven). Some pastry shops of Rhodes also sell ‘karidopita’.

On Rhodes island there is a traditional sweet using walnut from the old days when people didn’t have access to all sorts of unhealthy sweets at each corner and anytime like we have today due to the globalised market. Back in the “good old days” Rhodians ate dried fruits when no fruit was accessable on their thees or shrubs. One of the most amazing recipes was born as a result of the latter fact and the richness of the Rhodian countyside. And it is the recipe of the ‘askadia’, the dried fig delight stuffed with walnut, roasted sesame and cinnamon. The way of making ‘askadia’ is pure witchcraft and I will share it in a coming post. 😉

Askadia (the dried fig delight) of Rhodes preserved with bay laurel leaves

Ps.: make sure you wear gloves when peeling walnut! Otherwise you’ll have black hands for a month!

This entry was posted in: Blog ENG, Nature & Food, Rhodes island


//EN// I am a Hungarian woman living on the Greek Dodecanese archipelago where I have been researching the characteristics of the local landscape and culture since 2015. This journey and work on the Aegean sea gives me the fuel to share what I've found: through written materials (on this blog and at other venues), and to create artworks of pressed flowers and herbs which is a great botano-mythical journey, a worship in the great temple of Mother nature that widens my whole world each day a bit more. My interests: human integrity, interactions between a culture and an individual, recognizing and understanding nature's orderly movements and the cosmic patterns in the human (body and psyche) and their interconnectedness with the non-human world, mythology & archetypes, the Great Mother archetype, women's health, and healing through rebonding with nature (especially with the plant world). //HU// Főként a szavak és a képek nyelvén közlő, önálló utat kijárni próbáló, gondolkodó, örökösen válaszokat kereső embernek tartom magamat. Jelenleg Rodosz szigetén élek, ahol 2015 óta próbálom megfejteni a Mediterránum ezen szegletének (engem mágnesként fogva tartó) géniuszát a helyi természetben, szociokulturális vonásokban, egyéni történetekben - valamint próbálom megfejteni saját folytonosan formálódó viszonyulásomat e költészettől parázsló tájhoz, annak ambivalens jelenkori kultúrájához. Ez a kimeríthetetlen felfedező munka lett írásaim (és egyben önismeretem) epicentruma. A Rodoszi Herbárium pedig a görög szigetek természeti gazdagságának és éteri szépségének egyszerre megidézési- és megismerési kísérlete. A helyi növények gyűjtésével, préselésével és képekké alakításával nem csak a teremtés szépségében gyönyörködöm, hanem segít kapcsolódnom a fény útjához, a vegetáció diverzitásához és ritmusához, mitikus történetek, archaikus elfeledett bölcsességekhez, tudattalanomban szunnyadó képekhez, kozmikus analógiákhoz, és mindezen keresztül saját lényegemhez.

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