Your comment may need to be approved before it will appear on the site. Thanks for waiting. First time commenting? Please review the Comment Policy.
I’m soooooo happy to find this article after having this fruit for a week and not knowing what it was or how to eat it. Thanx to my friend for telling me the name and I googled it and this page pop up.
I think this is a great article about Prickly Pear fruit. It shows exactly how to peel the fruit, a task that intimidates some people. I am well familiar with Prickly Pears and have a Web site about them. There are 90 varieties in the USA.
/Best Margarita I ever had was fresh prickly pear in Sedna some 25 years ago.
I’m no expert, but I prefer the magenta(?) colored to the yellow. My experience in blending/processing with seeds produced a bitter juice. Take the time to press pulp & lease seeds behind.
My dad used to singe them in the campfire to get the tiny, OUCHY, (ask me how I know) needles off. It isn’t long enough to cook the fruit but just long enough to burn the ouchies off.
Where I grew up, New Mexico, they were all over the place and we camped often.
I just throw them in a pot with a little water and boil them for about 10 minutes. Then smash it through a sieve. There isn’t no need to scrub off the needles. They dissolve when you cook them.
I’m patiently waiting for my prickly pears to arrive from AZ, a friend is sending….I’m certain I’ll be making margaritas!!
Thanks! I picked up a couple of prickly pears at Horrock’s Market in Kentwood, MI last week, but didn’t really know what to do with them. I wanted to try something new, and I was sure I could google it. Tthat’s how I found your post. I was going to try to eat the seeds, but they were just too hard for me to chew through. I wound up blending it up, straining out the seeds, and then making a simple smoothie by blending the remaining juice with a banana. It’s delicious. :-) Thanks for the tips on how to cut it open!
I brought a blow torch with me and burned the spines off before picking them. Worked great.
Thanks for the tip about using the juicer. I’m going to try that! Making sorbet.
My prickly pears came from Maryland USA and they have yellow flowers on them and when the stickers get in your skin it can hurt and they are hard to get out! Are these different than the one that I see on this blog? Or are they the same? Really would like to know and thanks for your help!
Hi Dianne, the needles hurt, don’t they? And they are hard to get out. Prickly pears have all different colors of flowers from yellow to orange to pink. As far as I know, they’re the same plant, but perhaps a different variety. You can find more info on prickly pears here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opuntia
Dianne, if you have the prickly pear native to Maryland, it is Opuntia humifusa. I have that species and the fruits are much smaller than the larger fruits that are more commonly used for eating (different species). I use the fruits primarily as treats for bearded dragons, but you can eat them yourself. I fnd it easiest to slice off the larger end and squeeze out the contents, using tongs or leather gloves. The tiny needles will go through thin leather, though! My neighbors laugh when they see me weeding my cactus pot with tongs and chopsticks.
After cleaning off the thorns, I cut the pear apples in half, put in tall pan, cover with water and boil for 3-4 hours until softened. Pour juice and pear apples through a stainless steel cone canning sieve colander and using the wooden pestle press out the juice and some pulp. Discard the skin, seeds left in the colander. When all the juice is extracted, I wash the colander and pestle and put a cloth in the colander pour the juice through a second time which leaves only the juice. Discard cloth and remaining seeds etc. 6cups juice, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 8 to 10 cups sugar 1/2 tsp butter, 2 2/3 pkgs SureJel. Heat juice add surejell, bring to boil. Add butter, lemon juice and sugar, bring to boil and boil for 4 minutes. Put in washed jars leaving 1 inch to top. Place lids, that have been in hot water for 5 minutes, on jars and apply rings. Put in boiling bath canner that has hot water covering the jars 2 to 3 inches. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove jars from canner with jar remover tongs. Cover with towel. You will hear a click when jars seal. Makes 7 pints.
Hi Mike, adding 1/4 teaspoon or 1/2 a teaspoon to a jelly batch is pretty standard. It helps keep the jelly from foaming up too much and overflowing the pot.
Got it. Thanks!
Pickly pear wine!!! Yum
One of the local wineries makes it.
here we made prickly pear syrup, no sugar added, suitable to prepare pancake, ice cream, spreading…
Would love that recipe selekt.
I would like a recipe to make prickly pear jam please. If you can help me please.
I just got some prikly pears, they are small, I have cleaned them, peeled them, put them in my ninja, out it thru a strainer to rove the seeds. But what was left seems stringy. I am putting it yet
Thru the server again. Is it still good to make jelly or jam. It is not juice clear.
when is the best time to pick them I would like to make some fruit leather rout of them?
My sons picked over 3 lbs of prickly pear fruit off the cactus the other day, July 17, 2018 south of San Antonio, TX.
I made Prickley pear jelly last year and it was clear and a hit with everyone who tried it. This year the juice is cloudy and the jelly is still tasty but not as good. why is the juice so cloudy?
Great question, I have no idea!
Thanks for the helpful article & comments. We live in San Antonio, TX and love prickly pears. It’s been several years since we went through the trouble to make jelly. We found some roadside yesterday that were too good to pass up (and we happened to have a leather welding glove with us) so we filled a grocery sack. After all the advice here we decided to try luck with a few ideas. We cut and peeled one, but found the seeds rock hard (as some of the comments noted) so it didn’t yield much flesh otherwise. We burned the prickles with our gas range (note: now I have to clean them off the range top); then we juiced them whole, having to rinse the machine a few times as we went. The juice was ok raw, but we decided to make syrup instead. It’s been great as a dessert topping and in drinks (can’t wait to try with lemonade). We did 2 batches: the first we strained 1.75 cups with 1 cup sugar and reduced. It was great and beautiful – almost neon purple. Then we tried 3 cups unstrained with 1.5 cups honey and reduced it. The honey masked the flavor a bit and it lost the color (strange) and was a light caramel brown (like the honey), so we won’t be using that next time.
Hi Fredrik, I knew that prickly pear expanded throughout the Mediterranean but hadn’t heard that it had been imported to and spread over Australia as well!
Here in south Texas pricley pears grow wild along the hi-ways. The best way to harvest them is to take the sharp edge of a knife and rub the spines off while the pear is till on the plant. The spines fall freely from the fruit and you can blow on them to remove and dust left from removing the spines. You may want to have a roll of paper towels handy to wrap around the pears as you cut them from the plant. The paper towels can be disposed of as you use them. The best fruit to use are the darkest ones with a rich maroon cooler. the pears ripen around bow season here so I usually cut a few to eat while I am hunting.
Cleaning the fruit in the sink is the next step. Use cold water only when making wine with the prickley pears so you don’t produce the slime in the juices.
cut the top of the pear off and any hard pieces off the bottoms. cut them in half from top to bottom and place them in a blender. Blend till puried then add the same amount of water to the pulp as there is pulp. example 1 gal. pulp 1 gal. water. place the pulp and water in a large container and let it sit for an hour to let the pulp rise and the juice settle .
Siphon the juice out of the bucket and thru a sieve to remove the seeds.
now you have clean juice.
Thanks for the detailed comment on how to prepare prickly pears, I didn’t know how but wanted to try it out.
The comparable cactus fruit comes from the Cereus Peruviana and is even more tasty than Dragon Fruit. I get it from a neighbor’s cactus plant but have never seen them sold in stores. If I did, I would buy a case..it is that delicious!!