Prickly Pear Fruit II How To Peel And Make Prickly Pear Juice

Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit:  How To Peel, Make Prickly Pear Juice And Eat It

The nopal cactus, which is native to Mexico, is sometimes known as the prickly pear cactus, but its Latin name is Opuntia. Cactus fruits are known as tunas in Spanish. The fruit has a thick skin coated in tiny spines and grows on the rounded edges of cactus paddles. When you cut them open, you’ll find soft, juicy meat within, as well as a lot of dark, spherical seeds.

WHAT ARE PRICKLY PEAR (ALSO KNOWN AS  “TUNA”) FRUIT?

The fruit of the nopales cactus is the prickly pear. These cacti have a paddle covered in thick, sharp needles, as shown below. The cactus paddles (also known as “nopales”) are edible despite the needles.
Some individuals enjoy eating the green paddle (it actually tastes similar to green beans). I usually remove the thorns and use the green paddles to make cold process soap, but I’ve also pickled them and eaten them in salsa.

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Identifying and Harvesting Cactus Fruit

Cactus fruit is shaped like pears and grows on the cactus’ flat pads’ edges. They differ in color from green (less sweet) to crimson (very tasty), with orange colors in between. The little spots on them are glochids, which are small hair-like splinters that can pierce your skin and are exceedingly painful and difficult to spot. When picking prickly pear cactus fruit, keep your hands safe.

Thick gloves or a couple of layers of an old towel can be used. It’s also possible that stacking six paper towels together will suffice. Gently twist the fruit in your hands using gloves or cloths. Greener fruits will require a tighter grip and more twisting, but riper fruits will easily pop off with little effort. Toss the fruits together in a basin or basket. Avoid touching the fruit with your hands.

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How To Peel And Eat Prickly Pear Fruit

Once the prickly pears have been cleaned, they are easy to prepare. Make sure you have a chopping board, a sharp knife, and a pair of thick gloves on hand.
#1: Cut the prickly pear in half and remove the two ends. Keep the scraps in your compost.
#2: Cut a 1/8-inch-deep slice lengthwise down the body of the prickly pear.
#3: Gently press your finger into the skin and peel it back. The prickly pear’s skin is wrapped around it, and peeling it off is straightforward once you get started.
Once the skin has been removed, set aside to use in your compost pile.

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#4: Once you’ve removed the skin, slice the prickly pear and eat it plain. Alternatively, if you want to juice, you have two choices:

Use your blender to puree the prickly pears (no need to add water; just wait for the blade to ‘catch’ the pears and it should puree them without problems).

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Straining-Prickly-Pear-Juice

Use your juicer to get rid of the seeds; this is my preferred approach. Simply put the peeled prickly pear in the juicer, and it will extract the juice (sans seeds). After the seeds have been juiced, throw them.

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HOW TO ENJOY JUICED PRICKLY PEARS

Although using a blender may be more convenient for some, you will have to perform an extra step. To drain out the black seeds, pour the pureed juice through a fine strainer. The seeds are edible, however, they are quite difficult to eat.

(While some people prefer to filter away the pulp, I prefer to keep it because the pulp will separate from the juice if let to sit.) To blend it, simply stir it or shake it.)

Prickly pear juice has an earthy flavor when consumed alone. You’ll either enjoy it or find it strange. Prickly pear juice mixed with peaches, strawberries, and cantaloupe in a smoothie is a hit with kids. Some enjoy it straight up as prickly pear juice.
(While you might be tempted to buy prickly pear juice at a specialty grocery store’s beverage section, it’s nothing like freshly squeezed fruit. The fruit is pure juice and has a deeper, richer color. It has a far more flavorful hue and is far more flavorful. Store-bought canned and boxed juice has a pretty pale tint and isn’t nearly as tasty.)

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