The Cactaceae (Cactus) family includes the eastern prickly pear. There are around 1,800 species in this family, all native to the New World with the possible exception of one or two. With over 150 species in the genus Opuntia, the prickly pears are regarded as an ancient subgroup of the cactus family. It can be found from New Mexico and Montana east to Florida and Massachusetts, and it has the broadest distribution of any American cactus. Additionally, Ontario has it. Eastern prickly pears can grow in a region in big colonies or as a few lone plants. It is frequently referred to as Opuntiacompressa in older botanical manuals.
This species is a typical cactus with a stalk that performs photosynthetic leaf function. Water is also kept in this stem. It can endure the subfreezing conditions of the northern and middle states thanks to specific antifreeze compounds in its cells. The stems, or pads as they are more commonly known, can range in size from 4 to 12 centimeters (1.5 to 5 inches) in width and 5 to 17 centimeters (2 to 7 inches) in length. Pads can be joined in a branching or linear pattern.
Typically, the plants stretch out on the ground and grow little taller than 19 inches (0.5 meters). Some shrub-like plants in Florida can grow up to 2 meters (6.5 feet) tall.
Areoles, which resemble little dots, are scattered throughout the pads. Each areole has glochids (tiny barbs that hurt and irritate the skin when inserted), and the middle of the areole may or may not have a spine. At the tip of newly formed or actively expanding pads, there may occasionally be a little green structure paired with each areole. These are genuine leaves, but they will soon disappear.
Early summer sees the production of flowers at the ends of the pads. They are typically yellow, although the center of them is frequently crimson to orange east of the Appalachian Mountains and on dunes. In contrast to some other species, including the Indian Fig, Opuntia ficus-indica, the flesh of the reddish fruits is edible but typically not very sweet.
This cactus typically grows on calcareous rock or thin soil in wide-open, arid environments. It grows in or on fencerows, roadsides, prairie, rocky glades, rock outcrops, cliffs, abandoned quarries, and dunes. Well-drained grounds are essential since the roots need to remain dry during the winter to avoid decay.
Fruit from prickly pears is it pricey?
Prickly pears are a fruit that Moroccans both adore and detest! Its name is appropriately given given that it is the cacti plant’s fruit and has a prickly exterior. During your Moroccan road journey, you will see an impressive quantity of these prickly pear cacti almost everywhere if you glance out the window.
Despite what its name in Moroccan Arabic, l’hindia (the Indian Fig), suggests, the prickly pear traveled all the way from Mexico to Morocco in the 1770s. It is currently thriving throughout North Africa and is ingrained in the daily lives of its inhabitants.
Moroccans Love and Hate Eating the Prickly Pear
The prickly pear season starts in the beginning of July. There are now street vendors in every region of the nation, in every town and city, and even on the sides of the motorways and major highways! Prickly pears are peeled and sold for around one dirham each. The majority of individuals consume their prickly find immediately, but some take it home and store it in the refrigerator for later. Its pulp can be used to make jams and spreads, but these products will lack the seeds, which are responsible for half of the fruit’s nutritional content.
Like many wonderful things, prickly pears are best enjoyed in moderation. Depending on your digestive system, eating more than 2-3 of them may cause you to become constipated for days, or the exact opposite issue. Yes, there is love and hate.
The Incredible Health Benefits of the Prickly Pear
A considerable portion of the prickly pear is used to make pharmaceuticals and treatments. Its seeds’ oil is used to treat cancer, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. It has antiviral, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties, soothes ulcers, lowers cholesterol, and combats obesity.
Although eating a lot of prickly pears won’t entirely heal you (as stated in the warning above), the oil they contain may be beneficial to your health and act as a catalyst for change in the way your body heals. It takes a ton of prickly pears to make only one liter of this priceless oil. Because of this, getting one liter costs roughly 10,000 dirhams, or about $800.
The high concentration of vitamins E, A, and C, Omega 6 fatty acids, and magnesium in superfruits is primarily responsible for their therapeutic and cosmetic effects.
The Prickly Pear in Beauty Care
This oil is regarded as a luxury organic skin care treatment and should be kept in a sacred location when used in a beauty regimen. especially while taking into account the cost! Prickly pear seed oil has proven to be quite effective at halting the negative effects of skin aging. Additionally, it is utilized for feeding, mending, and healing the skin, hair, and nails. Omega 6 and Vitamin E, which are highly desired ingredients in organic cosmetics, are abundant in it. In Morocco’s driest regions, Berber women have been utilizing this oil for decades. Many of them attribute the perfect skin they have despite working hard and being exposed to the sun, heat, and humidity to this miraculous oil.
The Prickly Pear Feeds Livestock
Animals can be fed the interior of cactus leaves since it is very affordable and simple to find. This is especially true in dry locations where it is difficult to find other plants and nutrients. Although it is not particularly high in protein, it is quite hydrating, which is very advantageous given that dehydration is a significant factor in animal fatalities during very dry summers.
The Prickly Pear Industry Empowers Women
Many women in various locations of Morocco have turned the laborious and demanding procedure of removing the seeds from the fruits into a business. These women, who are primarily from underprivileged rural areas, have discovered a financially advantageous buddy in the prickly pear. Around $4 is paid to these ladies for each kilogram of collected seeds. This may not seem like much, but for many rural Moroccan women who are trying to support their families or achieve some degree of financial independence, it is a critical amount of money. Therefore, you might respond, “Maybe not… but it kind of grows on cactus,’ the next time someone tells you that money doesn’t grow on trees. At least it does for these devoted Moroccan women.
About the Author
Meknsiya (a native of Mekns, Morocco) Lala Ouazzani enjoys exploring all that her home country has to offer. She has always loved food. Luckily for her, Morocco has a wide variety of mouthwatering foods to try. She loves learning about the history of her nation and sharing what she learns and experiences with as many people as she can. Casablanca serves as Lala’s current home base.
Are cactus fruit and prickly pears the same thing?
Although it is native to Mexico, the nopal cactus is also known as prickly pear cactus or Opuntia. Cactus fruit are known as tunas in Spanish. The thick skin of the fruit is covered in tiny spines, and it develops on the rounded edges of cactus paddles. You may cut them open to reveal a delicate, juicy inside that is filled with several dark, rounded seeds.
Can you eat the fruit of a prickly pear cactus?
Prickly pear harvesting and preparation 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.
Is the prickly pear cactus edible raw?
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.
Are prickly pears toxic?
The Prickly Pear, Peyote, San Pedro, Echinopsis Peruviana, Saguaro, Barrel, Euphorbia canariensis, and Cholla cacti are among the most lethal cacti.
How many prickly pears should I consume each day?
Eat no more than two meals at once each day. Whether or not you eat prickly pears, make sure to drink lots of water (2 liters per day). NB Because prickly pears contain tiny edible seeds, anyone with diverticulitis, colitis, or rohn’s disease should avoid eating them.
What advantages does eating prickly pear cactus provide for your health?
The prickly pear cactus, often referred to as nopal, opuntia, and other names, is marketed as a remedy for hangovers, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity. It is also praised for having anti-inflammatory and antiviral qualities.
Why are prickly pears so costly?
Who would have imagined that a cactus might be a hidden source of water? Don’t you think nature is amazing? …
The Barbary fig has numerous qualities and many hidden secrets. Its fruits are known to keep animals healthy and have long been employed as a natural barrier, but the secret to youth is really found in the seed.
Due to its higher concentration of vitamin E compared to other oils, the prickly pear seed oil (which is extracted from the seeds) is well known for its anti-aging qualities.
This elixir, which is uncommon and solely handcrafted, is frequently sold for 1,000 euros per liter.
How then is it created? Why is the price so high? Is it really so healthy for skin? How can I locate the best oil?
How is it made? 1 ton of fruits to create 1 liter of oil
The seeds of the prickly pear fruit are used to make the prickly pear seed oil (not to confuse with the oily macerate of prickly pear which is cheaper and less active). This cactus, which is native to Latin America, thrives primarily in the Mediterranean region.
Premium Prickly Pear Seed Oil is made using a labor- and time-intensive process. One million prickly pear seeds (or one ton of barbary figs) are required in order to produce one liter of prickly pear seed oil, which can take up to 36 hours of physical labor.
The seeds are removed from the fruit’s pulp, thoroughly cleaned, air-dried in the sun, and then kept in a cool, dry area. After that, cold pressure is used mechanically to remove the oil.
Since there is only 5% pure oil in each seed, the cost of production is very high, making this oil extremely rare and expensive. In fact, the cost per liter can be as high as 1000!
The special qualities of prickly pear seed oil are well known. Due to its composition, which is distinctive, rich, and advantageous for the skin, it is frequently utilized in cosmetic products.
It’s packed with moisturizing ingredients
It defends the skin from the damaging effects of free radicals because it is high in sterols and vitamin E. (free radicals are known to promote the skin ageing process).
The prickly pear oil also has a healthy proportion of omega-6 fatty acids, which are essential for preventing skin dryness and supporting cell renewal. Prickly pear oil will be the ideal summertime remedy for dry hair. It can be applied undiluted, straight to the tips, or as pre-shampoo care.
For older skin, prickly pear oil is highly advised. It lessens the affects of aging and acts as a barrier against the epidermis’ premature aging because of its strong antioxidant capacity. The prickly pear oil will reestablish firmness and elasticity in daily care. Therefore, wrinkles can benefit from its application.
Prickly Pear Seed Oil absorbs almost instantly and leaves no residue because of its delicate texture. As a result, it benefits all skin types, even the basic ones.
Stretch mark creams frequently contain prickly pear seed oil as well. It effectively lessens scars due to its regenerating qualities. For instance, it can be applied to lessen the visibility of acne lesions. Apply a few drops of the product to the affected area in the evening, massaging until the product is completely absorbed.
Observations after two weeks: Does it live up to the hype, or is it just another new fad that the major cosmetics producers have created?
For the past two weeks, we have generally tested it before night. We were not anticipating such excellent results, and unlike the majority of cosmetics items, it fulfills its claims and is not oversold in the advertisements.
Your skin begins to change over the course of two weeks. Your skin gets softer and smoother, and your face looks brighter. Your skin’s collagen layer is maintained by the oil, which also helps your pores close for a more flawless appearance. Additionally, it absorbs quickly, preventing greasy skin.
One issue, though, is that we are dependent on it, so further funding will be needed. But you do realize that beauty never fades?
Then, was this another new fad introduced by large manufacturers? Actually, no. The large industry has not yet ridden the wave since the procedure is so expensive, labor-intensive, and slow. Local farmers and cooperatives in Morocco continue to control the majority of the country’s current production.
Is it always true that prickly pear seed oil is scarce and offers amazing benefits?
Be aware of fake, non organic and non pure!
Prickly pear seed oils are expensive and labor-intensive to produce, thus some manufacturers find it appealing to combine them with other straightforward oils. Therefore, if prickly pear seed oils are being sold for a low price, be cautious.
Sometimes you can find prickly pear oily macerate. It wasn’t derived from cold-pressed seeds, but rather from blossom maceration. Although the cost of producing the oil subject to maceration is lower, it lacks many of the wonderful advantages of the pure cold-extracted oil.
You should stay away from prickly pear seed oils that have been chemically extracted from the market.
Last but not least, the benefits will be considerably fewer if you use industrial cosmetics containing prickly pear seed oil (if you can obtain it).
How to chose your prickly pear seed oil and where to find it?
We choose an unadulterated, pure oil that comes from organic farms (Due to its rarity, prickly pear oil is often mixed with other ingredients, sometimes harmful).
Verifying if the given product is cold-pressed prickly pear seed oil or not is also crucial.
Finding the ideal manufacturer who respects the quality control process, the environment, and the labor force requires extensive investigation.
Le Souk, a store headquartered in Nicosia (Republic of Cyprus), offers all the wonders that Morocco has to offer through its online and physical marketplace, including 100% pure and organic argan and prickly pear seed oil, carpets, plates, and more. (THIS IS NOT AN ADVERTISEMENT)
Eleni finally found premium argan oil and prickly pear seed oil after a protracted search and multiple journeys to Morocco in pursuit of the best.
We think we’ve discovered one of the highest-quality prickly pear seed oils on the market. Additionally, our Moroccan partners work mostly with women in rural regions, therefore we are happy to support economic growth and women’s empowerment.
Promote the use of their chemical-free, organic cosmetics as an alternative to conventional ones.
Your strongest ally in the fight against aging is unquestionably the prickly pear seed oil, which is the most valuable and uncommon oil that nature has to offer.
Every lady and man should buy this anti-aging product because it is completely natural and biological.
Quality: virgin oil that is 100 percent pure, organic, natural, and free of any chemical treatments after being extracted from cod.
Storage and packaging: The oil is kept in a dark, non-oxygenated area at room temperature. The packaging is done in 40ml and 15ml glass bottles.
It will swiftly sink into the skin after application and soften and relax your skin.