Wednesday, September 07, 2005

How To Eat A Prickly Pear.


This is the beautiful fruit of the prickly pear cactus. After a summer of yellow blossoms, these gorgeous scarlet fruits appear.

The taste is hard to describe, fruity, tangy, yet sweet...see, I told you it was hard to describe. The inside is an even prettier shade of red and is loaded with seeds.

The trick to eating a prickly pear is to not touch the delicate, "soft" stickers that are present on the thick skin of the fruit. These look like peach fuzz, very small, blonde, but they are EVIL. If you touch them, they will imbed completely in your skin and drive you crazy. You can feel 'em, but usually you can't get 'em!

1) To eat a prickly pear, grasp it at both ends between finger and thumb.
2) Take your pocket knife and carefully peel the tough skin, being careful not to touch those little blonde spines.
3) Eat juicy red pulp inside prickly pear.
4) Spit seeds at kids.
5) Duck.
6) The juice will have stained your fingers a lovely burgundy color. Think of an interesting explanation for this side effect.Posted by Picasa

22 comments:

Laura said...

well I'll be. I've seen these plants for years and never knew that the fruit was edible. Also enjoyed the jumping cactus pictures, we had those on our property up in Gainesville.

Juli said...

I have a prickly pear in my backyard. It was once a mere "start" from a friend's plant and has tripled in size in no time. I once bumped into the cactus and had reminders for days. :(

Hick said...

Hick's method of eating a prickly pear.

1. Let FC do steps 1 and 2 and then Hick will do steps 3-6.

Heh!

Rexroth's Daughter said...

The fruit sounds delicious. Wish I had tried it when I was living in California, and the cactus were abundant.
Side effect for the burgundy colored fingers-- would it make the spines a bit more visible as they are burying themselves in your flesh?

roger said...

there was for many years a huge prickly pear "orchard" between watsonville and gilroy in california. the fruits were used to make cactus jam. i remember also tasting candied barrel cactus in palm springs many years ago.

Vicki said...

It sounds as though it takes three hands to eat one of these. But your description has me wondering if the prickly pear could be useful in dyeing wool. I think I'll go do a search on that- I'm always looking for good reds, like pomegranites, etc. I love coming by your site...so much information and so many things to learn!

Floridacracker said...

Vicki,
Three hands is just about right! As for dyeing with the fruits, I have had the same thought although I am not a textile artist. I know I have dyed a few t-shirts accidently with speckles of juice! Thanks for visiting!

RD,
Maybe the contrast would help, except those tiny ones are about 3mm long and seem to always be completely submerged in my fingers!

DPR,
I know they must grow them commercially, because I see a larger domestic version in the grocery store sometimes.

Hick,
Sounds like a plan...for you!

Laura,
They are a pretty plant to have, you just have to show them who's boss.

Girl,
Been there...I kneeled on one while fencing...arrrghhh!

Anonymous said...

I've seen some of these on our neighbor's property in a xeric area, but so far I haven't found any on the 80 acres of Roundrock. I'd love to have 'em though.


BTW - has anyone reported a problem with Blogger not allowing people to leave their names? Most blogger sites I visit lately haven't allowed me to do so.

Denny Thau said...

Good blog. Keep it running!

Billa:... said...

It was good to find this helpful instruction, though a bit late as i was already through half of my fruit eating. Including the seeds as well. I hope it is okay =)

Anonymous said...

I hope so Billa. I have been eating the fruit including the seeds since I have been a boy.

In my native country, Peru, I used to buy them from street vendors who peel the fruit for you so you eat it at the spot. Or, at home my mom would peal it for me.

Now,it is almost a ritual for me to peal it, because of the little spines, those little devils. I use a fork to hold it. A knife to cut it at both end and then one cut one the side. Then a spoon to finish the pealing. Finally, I take the edible part out. I was looking for a better way to eat them.

Richard

Tom said...

Anyone who's worked with fiberglass insulation on a hot day can appreciate the itchyness of the little stickers found on the fruits. YIKES!!!
Im in Virginia and see these in NC too. Now I know how to handle the fruits and will certainly sample the next ripe ones I happen upon

Anonymous said...

I wonder if quickly passing the fruit through a flame would singe the spines, neutralizing them.

Dave C.

whyte said...

Dave C, are you volunteering to try it out and let us know? LOL!
Great blog, PF! Looking forward to checking back in...
Pat M.

knit1kids4 said...

I happened upon these at a local market today and we tried them. Then I came searching to see why we didn't like them. It was not good at all. Maybe it wasn't ripe? Any thoughts?

Google brought me to your blog while searching.

Nikki said...

I bought 2 from the grocery store, looked up how to eat them, and was very disappointed. All the prickly pears they had were green. I didn't know they were supposed to be such a dark red. I will try and eat them anyways but I'm scared of how they'll taste.

Anonymous said...

To tell the truth, it is not my favorite fruit. The taste is not that good, but it is not bad. As I posted before, I used to eat them a lot in my native country. Now here, in the USA, i mostly bought them out of nostalgy. Now, being in Peru on vacation my mom bought a few of them, already pealed, for me. I kind of like them, but I wish they were easier to eat. Anyway, I will continue to consume them at any opportunity.

Richard

jpdpinellas said...

Does anyone know where to get some fresh prickly pears in the west central Fla or Tampa area at reasonable price or pick your own?

Jay

Camille Raciopio said...

Just got back from Sedona where they were serving Prickly Pear Margharitas! awesome! So awesome, that we purchased 3 bottles of pear juice to bring back to florida! THEN went on your site and found out we can grow our own!! I can't wait to go to the garden store tomorrow to get a cactus!
Emeril has a fantastic recipe for the margharitas - you gotta try them! Also, as a dip= ranch dressing with a little pear juice = y um with veggies!

yahoo account said...

I come from Malta and the Prickly Pears come in White, Yellow and Red. The fruit is delicious. The best way is to put the pears in water for a while to soften the needles before you slice them open by cutting both ends and then slice the skin longways then peel. In Malta we have Cactus Pear Liqueurs. Delicious

dallyb said...

Hello Jay

I have twenty acres covered in prickly pear cactus, I am in Eustis, FL., We are planning to start trying to eradicate them in the near future. So if anyone wants to come and pick all they want they are welcome. Please email me.
My name is Bryan and my email address is :
clearchoiceinc@earthlink.net

Anonymous said...

Before I eat them I spray full strength vinegar on them, put rubber kitchen gloves on, then rub them down with one of those plastic sponge doo-hickies. Works great & have no trouble picking them up & slicing them with ungloved fingers.