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.
Is fruit from prickly pears expensive?
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 these may cause you to get 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.
Do they sell prickly pears at Trader Joe’s?
Here in the Sonoran Desert, I’m sharing a delicious prickly pear margarita recipe with you today.
Since I’m not a “desert rat,” this recipe required some trial and error. However, I was able to learn where to select the fruit (you shouldn’t pick it along the side of the road), how to handle it, and what the flavors are with the assistance of my neighbor.
This gorgeous, strong crimson margarita I made looks gorgeous and tastes fantastic!
Prickly Pear Margaritas A Sonoran Desert Recipe
Opuntia cactus produces a particular variety of cactus fruit known as prickly pears. Where I live in Arizona, it’s nearly everywhere, and is almost seen as a weed. Although I had never tried it before moving to Arizona, it is reportedly available at supermarkets like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. If you can’t get prickly pear fruit to make your own, you can substitute prickly pear syrup, which I also discovered online, in your recipe.
As a family, we first went out early in the morning to get some wild prickly pear fruit.
Prickly Pear Fun Facts
The cactus has many spines, and even the fruit contains microscopic hairs that resemble thorns. We picked the fruit with tongs and put it in a pail. For kids who have to come very close to the cactus to access some of the fruit, long pants and shirts are a smart idea. To remove the rogue thorns that are certain to get stuck in at least one person, it is always a good idea to bring a pair of tweezers with you.
Is prickly pear and cactus fruit the same?
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.
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.
Is the prickly pear cactus edible?
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 occurs if prickly pears are consumed in excess?
When properly prepared, prickly pears are safe to eat, but they could also have some drawbacks.
If you consume too much prickly pear, you could have negative effects from consuming too much fiber. These include nausea, bloating, indigestion, and diarrhea.
Additionally, intestinal obstruction problems in rare instances have been connected to prickly pear fruit seeds. They may create a nondigestible blockage that results in fecal impaction when ingested in excess (22, 23).
In the quantities typically seen in recipes, eating prickly pear fruit or cactus pads is generally regarded as safe.
Research on prickly pear supplements and extracts, however, is scant. Due to a paucity of information regarding these products’ adverse effects, pregnant and lactating women should speak with their medical team and probably avoid them.
To avoid getting them stuck in your skin or ingesting them, the glochids (prickles) on the outside of prickly pears must be carefully removed before preparation.
When properly prepared, eating prickly pears in moderation is safe. Because of this food’s high fiber content, over ingestion may cause symptoms of digestive discomfort.
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.
Cactus: Does Trader Joe’s carry it?
Perfect for gifts or to add a little something to that sunny window in your house. Succulents, cactus, and prefabricated succulent gardens are all available at Trader Joe’s for as little as $2.99. It never hurts to include a small succulent on the list of “thanks-for-hosting” items if you’re dashing to the shop to grab some last-minute dips and spreads before attending a party. One word of caution: Cacti and succulents require a lot of sunlight to thrive indoors, so if your home isn’t equipped with natural light, save yourself the heartache and avoid these little desert plants.
What kinds of plants are now available at Trader Joe’s?
- Hellebore Plant, available from traderjoesplants.com.
- Plant for a bulb garden. Trader Joe’s Westchester, California, traderjoesplants
- Trader Joe’s Plants: Tulip Plant.
- Trade Joe’s Plants: Azalea Plant.
- traderjoesplants Mini Succulent Garden Plant.
- targetjoes. Muscari Plant.
- TradeJoeGems Pink Jasmine Plant
- Hyacinth Muscari Plant. traderjoegems.
Is it a good idea to purchase plants at Trader Joe’s?
This article was first published on Food52, a website that offers everything you need for a happier kitchen and home, including tried-and-true recipes, a shop full of lovely goods, a culinary hotline, and everything in between!
While we (of course) love all the frozen and dried goods Trader Joe’s has to offer, the plant and flower area is one of the nicest features of the cult-favorite supermarket. Their seasonal flowers are significantly less expensive than stems you’d get elsewhere, and with a little skill, you can design a completely unique arrangement for any occasion. But what else, besides florals? Those plants
With their wide range of reasonably priced plants, Trader Joe’s assortment is impossible to go wrong. They truly have something for everyone, from houseplants and herbs to seasonal flowers and container gardens. The pricing alone make it worthwhile to visit your local store to check it out, even though the selection may change based on the area and time of year (for example, succulents in the summer and miniature pine trees in the winter). If you’re looking for anything specific, it’s worthwhile to follow one or two Instagram accounts like this one or this one that provide updates on all the new plant stock (yes, they do exist).
1. Indoor tropical plants
Need we say more? Lush Monstera deliciosas, hip fiddle leaf figs, sturdy rubber trees, trailing pothos. The most popular home plants may be found in this collection alone, and their prices are also unmatched. In addition to a wide variety of typical houseplants, certain places also receive some rather uncommon plants, like Alocasia frydek, Philodendron selloum, and Monstera adansonii.
2. Cacti and succulents
Perfect for gifts or to add a little something to that sunny window in your house. Succulents, cactus, and prefabricated succulent gardens are all available at Trader Joe’s for as little as $2.99. It never hurts to include a small succulent on the list of “thanks-for-hosting” goods if you’re racing to the shop to grab some last-minute dips and spreads before attending a party. One word of caution: Cacti and succulents require a lot of sunlight to thrive indoors, so if your home isn’t equipped with natural light, save yourself the heartache and avoid these little desert plants.
Nothing compares to the flavor of freshly harvested herbs from your own herb garden (farmer, much?). In addition, Trader Joe’s provides a wonderful range of potted herb plants, including rosemary, parsley, and basil. To keep your herb plants healthy indoors, just make sure to give them lots of water and sunlight (a sunny windowsill is perfect!).
4. Flowers in pots
While freshly cut flowers are lovely, potted flowers are the most durable choice. The potted flower selection at Trader Joe’s is fantastic and changes with the seasons, from mums and daffodils in the fall to tulips and daffodils in the spring. You can either plant this assortment of potted flowers in your garden to enjoy them for many months or enjoy them briefly indoors.
5. Festive plants and vases
All of Trader Joe’s seasonal products—spiked apple ciders, pumpkin pastries, and peppermint hot chocolate—might be its best feature.
Additionally, they have a festive assortment of seasonal plants and containers in their selection of plants for the season, which doesn’t disappoint. We really adore their holiday offering, which typically includes garland, centerpieces, wreaths, DIY kits for decorating tiny trees, poinsettias, and amaryllis. They also sell items for other occasions like Easter, Valentine’s Day, the Lunar New Year, and Thanksgiving.
6. Self-made grow kit
While purchasing plants that are already established is enjoyable, starting your own plants from seed offers a particular sense of fulfillment. Many Trader Joe’s stores have started providing DIY grow kits for plants like poppies and dahlias during the past year so you can quickly and easily produce your own flowers on your porch or balcony. Additionally, each one is only $6.99.