How to cut and prepare prickly pear? Caution, Here’s a step-by-step guide to slicing and using a delicious prickly pear cactus with recipe suggestions.
What Is Prickly Pear Fruit?
Few people know that the fruits of the nopales cactus (cacti with lobes resembling a beaver’s tail) are quite edible. These neon fruits, called prickly pears, produce a delicious juice that tastes like a mixture of natural gum (if it exists) and watermelon.
How to Use Prickly Pear
Opuntia juice is often used to make jam or candy, but works wonders in cocktails and is used in vinaigrette for salads.
I used prickly pear juice to flavor a cream cheese frosting for a lime-flavored muffin and saw others brew a cactus pear with a little orange and lemon juice to make a sauce for fruit salads and cheesecakes.
Where to Get Prickly Pear
Many markets, farmers’ stores, and any organic food supermarkets sell prickly pear fruits, but you can find the cactus pear native to California, the Southwest, Mexico, and the Mediterranean.
However, be careful, while the prickly pears in the markets have been peeled of tiny hair-like thorns, those that have just come off the cactus are covered in them, so remember to handle them with heavy leather work gloves and wipe them thoroughly to ensure all painful little notches are cut off. In any case, handle prickly pears with care or use gloves just in case.
- Cut both ends of the prickly pear:
- Discard them
- Make one long, vertical cut along the body of the prickly pear
- Insert your finger into the cut and grasp the skin
- Cleanse your skin:
- Start peeling off the thick, fleshy skin that is wrapped around the prickly pear. Discard the skins. You will have the prickly pear itself.
- The pulp is dotted with tons of small edible seeds, if you like them, feel free to just chop up the prickly pear and eat along with the seeds and all.
- Extract the juice:
- To pluck the prickly pear juice, place the “peeled” prickly pears in a blender or food processor and beat until thin.
- Pour the juice into a fine sieve and pour the juice into a jug or bowl. Discard leftover pulp and seeds.
- Use the juice as you see fit. Depending on the size of the prickly pear, from 6 to 12 prickly pears, you will receive about 1 glass of juice. It mixes well with fresh lemonade, just use equal parts of prickly pear juice and lemonade. Contact us for guest posting services.