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Cactus Pears, Cactus Fruit, Prickly Pears

 
 

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Thank you so much for the pictoral. I have seen these in the grocery store but didn't know what they were. I will definitely give them a try!!

We eat prickly pears if and when we see them in the shop. If you are on or around the farms in South Africa at the ripening time of the year, you'll find people selling quantities of them out of bags or bowls. This is how we use them: Use a fork and a sharp knife. Holding the pear down with fork, cut each end off, then score from top to bottom of the pear down for about 5cm and peel the whole pear open in one operation. The sharp spines are very painful. Enjoy the fruit. Warning - if many are eaten on an empty stomach it may cause constipation.

The spines are deadly and should really be removed before any attempt to get at the flesh. The best way I have found is to shake them around, a few at a time, in a metal colander or large sieve and then rinse them in running water. Just like any other fruit they can also be made into a jam.

Perfect timing! My friend and I gathered a sack full of prickly pear fruit last night on our hike. We had planned on researching how to eat them today, and your article arrived in my mailbox this morning... Divine timing. Lol....
Thanks so much!

We have green ones that are sold here in the local latin market. I love them as I grew up eating them. Are there still health benefits, even for the lighter colored fruit? I was just wondering about the health benefits while enjoying them last week.

I imagine they offer a different range of antioxidants and are health-enhancing in their own way. Intake of a wide variety of nutrient-dense foods is a good thing! :)

I've never tried it but I'm thinking if you held the pear in a pair of tongs and passed it briefly over/through a flame, or close to some glowing coals in a barbecue, to burn off the spines, that might be enough to make them finger-friendly.
If so, you could then try nibbling a small piece of the singed skin to see if it's also tongue friendly. I expect there would be a lot of goodies in the skin.