If you have wondered what to make with prickly pear, you are going to love all of these tips and recipe ideas! I will walk you through everything you need to know about these exotic cactus fruits and how to enjoy them safely!
I have a special treat for you today! I am in love with prickly pears and I am going to show you some of the best prickly pear recipes that you can make with them!
Prickly pears have many names including cactus fruit, cactus pears, Opuntia, cactus fig, and even Mexican tuna fruit. (How silly is that name?) They can be found throughout Mexico and some of the southern states.
Prickly pears come in several different colors ranging from red to hot pink, orange, and green. You can use any color prickly pear in the recipes I share. I love using the vibrant red and purple cactus pear fruit juice to make syrup.
How to eat a prickly pear:
There are lots of ways to eat a prickly pear. You can make a jam, prickly pear chutney, or cactus pear jelly. I love using the juice to make a syrup for cocktails! Sauces for roasted meats that are flavored with prickly pear add so much flavor.
Prickly pears taste a lot like a cross between watermelon, strawberries, and raspberries. They have an earthy flavor and they are great for both sweet and savory recipes! My favorite way to enjoy them is in my Prickly Pear Margarita recipe!
What part of the prickly pear is edible?
You can eat the fruit inside of the cactus pear rind. You do not want to eat the peel or spines.
How to remove prickly pear spines:
Lucky for us, most prickly pears are sold with the spines already removed. If you end up with a spiny cactus pear, you can safely remove the thorns with these steps:
- Wear thick gloves
- Use tweezers or plyers to carefully pull the spines out of the prickly pear.
How to cut a cactus pear:
Cutting a cactus pear is easy once the spines are removed. Place the pear on a cutting board and take a sharp knife and cut both ends off. Next, make a horizontal slice of the knife about ⅛ of an inch down the skin. You should be able to peel the skin off, leaving just the fruit.
The bummer about prickly pears is their seeds. They are hard as rocks and not really edible in their current form. You will need to either remove them if you are using pieces of the fruit or strain them out if you want the juice. Some brave people make cactus pear seed oil out of them, but that takes a lot of special equipment.
How to remove the seeds:
The best way to remove the seeds is to press the fruit through a fine-mesh strainer. The juice can pass through into a glass. If you want to have chunks of fruit, you can eat the fruit then spit out the seeds. It isn't ideal, but whichever you do, be careful because the seeds are small but rock hard.
How long will prickly pears keep fresh?
Prickly pears should keep fresh on the counter or in the produce drawer of your refrigerator for a week or two, depending on how ripe they were when you purchased them. If they are cut open, store them in these air-tight containers.
And now for the recipes. These are easy prickly pear recipes you can make quickly. I can't wait to hear which one you liked best!
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