What Is The Fruit Of The Prickly Pear Cactus Called

Opuntia, the prickly pear, is a remarkably adaptable food source. Both the fruit (tunas) and the pads (nopales) are edible, although care should be taken when gathering and preparing them.

What is the prickly pear cactus’ fruit?

Prickly pear fruit up close: In addition to the huge spines, the glochids (the small prickles or bristles) may come loose and irritate the skin or the eyes.

The fruit of prickly pears, also known as cactus fruit, cactus fig, Indian[19] fig, nopales[20], or tuna in Spanish[21], is edible but must first be gently peeled to remove the tiny spines on the outer skin.

[22] Glochids can be eaten and cause irritation to the throat, lips, and tongue if the outer layer is not carefully removed since the tiny spines are readily lodged in the skin. Native Americans, such as the Tequesta, would “sand” off the glochids by rolling the fruit about in a suitable medium (such as grit). The glochids can also be eliminated by spinning the fruit around a bonfire or torch flame. There are additional parthenocarpic (seedless) varieties available today. Flour can be made from the seeds. [23]

Prickly pears are frequently used in Mexico to prepare snacks, soups, salads, entrées, vegetable dishes, breads, desserts, drinks, confectionery, and jellies.



[25] In the majority of Opuntia species, the juvenile stem segments, commonly referred to as pads or nopales, are also delicious. [20] [22] They are frequently used in Mexican cuisine in recipes like tacos de nopal and huevos with nopales. In addition, nopales play a significant role in New Mexican cooking. [20] It was released in 2009 as a less expensive option to corn for the manufacture of tortillas and other corn-based products. [26] They can be pickled as well. [23]

Having been brought to Europe, Opuntia ficus-indica thrives in regions with a favorable temperature, such as the south of France and southern Italy: They are known as fichi d’India (literally, “Indian fig” in Italian) or ficurinia in Sicily (Sicilian language literal translation of Indian fig). They are known as figa de moro in Catalan-speaking areas of the Western Mediterranean, whereas they are known as figumorisca in Sardinia. They can also be found in southern Portugal and Madeira, where they are known as tabaibo, figo tuno, or “Indian figs,” and in Andalusia, Spain. They can also be found in the Struma River in Bulgaria (where they are known as higos chumbos).

It grows throughout Greece in areas including the Peloponnese, the Ionian Islands, and Crete. Depending on the locale, its figs are referred to as pavlosyka (Paul’s figs) or frangosyka (Frankish, or Western European) figs. They grow on the south-west coast of Albania and are known as fiq deti, or “sea figs.” In Cyprus, where they are known as papoutssyka or babutsa, the figs are also grown (shoe figs).

The prickly pear is another common plant on the islands of Malta, where the Maltese consume it as a traditional summer fruit known as bajtar tax-xewk, or “spiny figs,” and also use it to make the well-liked liqueur bajtra.

[27] The prickly pear is so widely distributed throughout the Maltese islands that it frequently replaces the typical rubble walls as a dividing wall between many of Malta’s distinctive terraced fields.

Between 1890 until 1940, Italy colonized Eritrea, during which time the prickly pear was introduced. It is plentiful throughout the late summer and early fall and is locally known as beles (late July through September). It is reported that the beles from the revered monastery of Debre Bizen are especially sweet and juicy. It is a well-known summer fruit in Libya and is known there as Hindi, which is Hindi in actuality.

Prickly pears of the yellow and orange varieties are planted next to farms, across railroad tracks, and on other uncultivated ground in Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and other regions of the Middle East. It is a fruit that is popular with street vendors in the summer because it is cooling.

The local St. Helenian term for cactus pears is “tungi.” In the 1850s, colonial ivory traders from East Africa first brought the plants, Indian fig opuntia, to the island. In the island’s dry coastal parts, tungi cactus now grows wild. On the island, there are three main tungi cultivars: the “English,” which has yellow fruit; the “Madeira,” which bears huge red fruit; and the small, solid “spiny red.” A native spirit manufactured exclusively from opuntia cactus and produced at the world’s most distant distillery, The St. Helena distillery at Alarm Forest, also bears the name Tungi.

What is the name of the fruit found on cacti?

Mexican food features a lot of cacti and their fruits. The broad, flat cactus pads, also known as “nopales,” are a common ingredient in many main dishes in Mexico, including salads, eggs, and other cuisines. The cactus fruit, sometimes known as “prickly pears,” is extremely delicious and can be consumed straight from the plant. They can be mildly sweet or syrupy sweet, depending on the degree of ripeness.

  • Treatment for urinary tract infections with an infusion of pads
  • Raw nopalitos include mucilage (pulp), which lowers the rate of sugar absorption and significantly lessens the symptoms of insulin shock.
  • Adult pads as a wound poultice and antiseptic
  • mature pads for burn treatment
  • Tea prepared from pads to treat scar tissue from tuberculosis
  • Mucilage from mature pads has antibacterial qualities because it kills bacteria in cultures.
  • Boils are treated with a hot prickly pear pad treatment.
  • As a hemostat, split pads are used to halt bleeding.
  • Treatment for a swollen prostate using infusion of pads

Insoluble calcium oxalate and soluble mucilage are both abundant in pads. They drastically decrease cholesterol and prevent glycemia due to their hypoglycemic action. Simple carbohydrates are not absorbed as well when exposed to soluble fibers, especially viscous mucilage. In addition, amylose, which breaks down into simple sugars more slowly than amylopectin, the starch found in bread and potatoes, is abundant in pads. However, mature pads have insoluble calcium oxalate crystals that could be harmful to your health. Nopales are beneficial in “preventing diet-related cardiovascular disease and adult onset diabetes” as well as “preserving the male prostate gland,” according to Laredo herbalist Tony Ramirez. (2011) Fowler

Temalpakh, 1972: Cahuilla Indian Plant Knowledge and Use. Press of Malki Museum.

1983 Experiencing America’s Unknown Interior by Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca. New Mexico University Press [Reprint of Crowell-Collier Publishing’s 1961 edition].

1981 Choke Canyon Reservoir and Surrounding Area Historic Indian Groups. Volume 1 of the Choke Canyon Series. Archeological Research Center San Antonio’s branch of the University of Texas. Texas’ San Antonio.

1968 A wooden pestle and mortar from Texas’s Val Verde County. Texas Archeological Society Bulletin 39:1–8.