What is a Prickly Pear?
Wait until you see the inside of a prickly pear and the prickly pear juice — both are stunning.
Prickly Pears are native primarily to the southwestern United States, Mexico, other Latin American countries, as well as in Africa, Australia and the Mediterranean — where there is a lot of sun and heat.
Prickly Pears are not actually a member of the pear family. They were given this name only because the they resemble pears in shape and size.
Other Names for Prickly Pears
- Cactus Pears
- Cactus Figs
- Tuna fruit
- Indian Figs
What does Prickly Pear taste like?
They’re juicy and have a lovely, very sweet, raspberry-like flavor.
Where to Buy Prickly Pears?
You might find them in the specialty section of the produce department in your market. You can also get them here.
How to Use Prickly Pear Juice
- In a delicious vinaigrette
- In ice cream
- Sliced into salads
- Mixed into cocktails
- Puréed for a dessert sauce to serve over ice cream
You might think it’s daunting, but I want to show you that it’s easy to learn how to cut, eat and juice Prickly Pears.
Now let’s demystify this unique and beautiful fruit, shall we?
How to Cut these Cactus Pears
First and foremost, put on cooking gloves! Trust me! The fruit doesn’t necessarily feel prickly, but has many almost invisible thorns. And they will hurt and be very hard to get out.
– Use paring knife to cut about ½ inch off of each end.
– Make a slit with the knife, vertically, through the skin — about ¼ inch deep.
– Use the tip of the knife to lift the skin away from the slit.
– Gently pull the skin off the cactus pear. It should come off in one piece and may remove a bit of the inner flesh — that’s okay.
You can cut the fruit into slices any way you like.
The fruit is packed with very tiny edible seeds. Many people like the seeds and it’s common to add the slices to salads, or eat them on their own.
(Personally, I don’t love the feel of the seeds as find them too grainy, so I prefer to juice them.)
How to Juice Prickly Pear
– Add chunks of the fruit to a blender and purée. Then pour it through a strainer.
Sliced and Juiced Prickly Pear
- 1 whole prickly (cactus) pear
- Put on cooking gloves! If you don't, you will tiny, almost invisible, sharp spines stuck in your fingers and hands.
- Use paring knife to cut about ½ inch off of each end of the fruit.
- Make a slit with the knife, vertically, through the skin — ¼ inch deep (or less).
- Now use the tip of the knife to lift the skin away from the slit a bit.
- Use your hands to gently pull the skin off. It usually will come off in one piece and may remove a bit of the inner flesh — that’s okay. Once the skin is removed, you can cut the fruit into slices.
- If you don't want the fruit with the (edible) seeds, purée it in a blender and then strain out the seeds to use the juice.
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