How To Use Cactus Pear

The prickly pear can now be cut up for eating after the skin has been removed. The prickly pear features tiny, tough seeds that are impossible to bite through, but you can safely consume them if you’d rather. Alternately, you might chew the fruit and spit the seeds out. To get rid of the seeds, you can alternatively use a juicer or strainer.


Cut off the prickly pear’s two ends:

Peel the skin back:

Peel off a small section of the prickly pear’s thick, fleshy skin. Throw away the skin. The prickly pears themselves will be all that is left.

If you prefer the seeds, feel free to simply chop the prickly pear up and eat it with the seeds and all. The flesh is covered in a ton of tiny delicious seeds.

Take the juice out:

The “husked” prickly pears should be added to a blender or food processor and pulsed until they are liquefied to extract the prickly pear juice.

Put the juice through a fine mesh strainer, then strain it into a bowl or pitcher. Throw away any leftover pulp and seeds.

Anyhow you like, use the juice. 6 to 12 prickly pears, depending on their size, can provide around 1 cup of juice. Just use equal portions of prickly pear juice and fresh lemonade when blending it in.

Do you have a favorite recipe for prickly pears? Please share the information with us in the comments.

Can you eat a cactus pear’s peel?

First, if the animal was taken from the wild, you will see that the skin has a number of very sharp thorns or spines that need to be cut out before handling. Although they ought to have been taken out if you bought them at the grocery store, be careful since sometimes they forget to take some of them out.

Wearing leather gloves and rolling or rubbing the prickly pear in paper towel or a clean cloth is one method of removing the spines. The thorns are very difficult to remove once embedded in your skin. So be sure to get rid of them! Additionally, avoid biting into a thorny plant because the last thing you want is to have thorns lodged within your mouth.

It’s time to take the skin off. Even though the skin is edible, I always peel it to be safe because doing so ensures that no spines are consumed. Prickly pears should have their tops and bottoms cut off.

Then cut the fruit lengthwise into slices that are between 1/8″ and 1/4″ deep. The fruit’s skin ought should easily peel off at this point.

The skin is simple to discard or compost. All that is left to do is cut up the fruit.

You are now aware of how to consume prickly pear cactus fruit. You can use them in a variety of cuisines or eat them raw. They are frequently used in drinks, snacks, soups, salads, jams, and jellies in Mexico.

What area of the cactus pears can be eaten?

The lower 48 states of the United States are home to the eastern prickly pear cactus (Opuntia humifusa). In addition to being a lovely plant, it is edible, offers sustenance and safety to wildlife, and can be utilized in natural landscaping.

This cactus is simple to locate, especially in Indiana. The prickly pear features flat, fleshy pads (known as cladodes) covered in spiky spines, similar to other spiny succulents. Showy yellow blossoms are produced by the prickly pear.

How to eat a prickly pear

A red, egg-shaped fruit starts to form after flowering. After removing the skin, the fruits can be eaten raw and are edible. The fruit is frequently converted into jams, candies, and other sweets, and some people even eat the plant’s fleshy pads as a snack.

For thousands of years, the prickly pear cactus has been an essential part of Mexican and Central American cuisine. Prickly pears are becoming more popular as food in various areas of the United States.

The nopal, or cactus pad, which is frequently used as a vegetable, and the pear, or fruit, are the only two edible portions of the prickly pear plant.

What do prickly pears taste like?

Cactus pears have a sweet, rather bland flavor that is comparable to melon. The fruit is not technically a member of the pear family, despite its name. It was merely given that name because the prickly fruit looks and acts like a pear.

Where can I find prickly pears?

In Indiana, such as the Kankakee Sands and the Lake Michigan shore dunes, the prickly pear cactus can be found in open sand and arid places.

Another fantastic location to see Indiana’s sole cactus is the lovely Ober Savanna in Starke County.

Prickly pear in your yard

The fact that this native cactus is challenging to manage is unknown to many who like planting it in their backyards. A single plant can develop into a tangled, dense colony very fast.

The best approach to stop the prickly pear from spreading is to plant it in a pot. Purdue Pest & Plant Diagnostics Lab has a few options to get rid of prickly pear from your property if it is already out of control on the cactus.

When handling this lovely native cactus, be sure to use thick gloves. Their long, thorny spines, which can reach a length of several inches, are the least of your concerns. Glochids are painful and challenging to remove because of their hair-like appearance and decreased visibility.

What advantages does eating cactus pears offer?

The flat paddles of the Opuntiaficus-indica cactus plant bear prickly pear fruit.

It has a lot of antioxidant chemicals and is high in fiber. As a result, it’s believed to aid in a number of conditions, including liver health, blood sugar control, and weight loss. However, further human research is required.

Prickly pear fruit and pads are delicious in many dishes, particularly Mexican food.

Just one thing

Try it out now: To use in a recipe this week, buy a prickly pear fruit (or cactus pads, also known as nopales) from the market. Try hunting for them at a Mexican grocery shop or other establishment that sells unusual fruits if you don’t reside in a region where prickly pears are native.

How can you tell when a cactus pear is ready to eat?

When cactus pears turn a dark, almost magenta-colored red, they are mature. Birds picking at the fruit and fruit falling to the ground are two additional indicators of optimum ripeness in addition to the straightforward color test. Picking a pear that has green flesh at the cut indicates that the fruit is not yet ripe. You should pay close attention to the glochids since they can come off the fruit during harvest, lodge in your skin, and cause discomfort, irritation, and occasionally allergic responses. Put on leather gloves and use metal tongs to harvest the fruit to be on the safe side.

Unripe cactus pears are safe to consume.

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.

What uses do prickly pear cacti have?

Whatever method you decide to use, be sure to thoroughly inspect to ensure that no glochids or spines were missed.

You can either leave the pads whole or chop them into strips or cubes depending on how you plan to use this vegetable. If you are cutting them, wipe the knife on some kitchen paper after each cut. Glochids might still be present.

How to Store Fresh Nopales

You can keep them in the refrigerator if you don’t plan to use them right away. For up to two weeks, store them in the refrigerator wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or cling film.

For a salad, these nopales have been chopped. When cooked, they taste a bit like green beans, and the texture is similar to okra.

If you’re trying nopales for the first time, I’d suggest purchasing them from a store rather than gathering your own. Details need to be paid close attention to in order to harvest and prepare food properly.

How to Cook Nopales

Nopales, or the pads of the prickly pear cactus, can be included into a number of wholesome recipes, such as salads, stews, omelets, casseroles, breads, and tortillas. As a condiment, they can alternatively be simply pickled in brine. The options are practically endless!

The pads can be boiled, grilled, steamed, or sauteed during the cooking process.

  • Boiled: You might need to replace the water and re-boil the pads a few times when boiling them. It’s possible that the sap coming from the pad is thick. As a general rule, the sap will be thicker the thicker the pad. Remove the sap from the pads after boiling, then rinse them with cold water.
  • Season your food liberally with salt and pepper before grilling. When the pads are somewhat brown in color and soft to the touch, they are prepared. In addition, they could be seasoned with a little salt, a squeeze of lime juice, and some olive oil.
  • Both sautéing and steaming are effective methods for preparing nopales.

Do prickly pears cause you to pass gas?

Whole prickly pear cactus is consumed (boiled or grilled). Jams and juice are also produced with it. If you want to try prickly pear cactus, think about starting slowly. Some persons may have moderate diarrhea, nausea, increased bowel frequency, increased bowel volume, and abdominal fullness as side effects.

How can the thorns on prickly pear fruit be removed?

Dechorning a Prickly Pear

  • To protect oneself from being pricked by the thorns, put on rubber gloves.
  • To remove the fruit’s outer layer of skin, use a paring knife or vegetable peeler.
  • To get rid of any leftover thorns, rinse the prickly pear in cold water.
  • The prickly pear’s ends should be severed and thrown away.

Are cactus fruits toxic?

The author disclaims all medical and veterinary licenses. The information provided is solely intended to share our experience and be entertaining. Always get advice from a doctor or veterinarian before making any decisions on your health or diet, as well as whenever you have any questions or concerns. By partaking in any activities or ideas from this website, the author and blog expressly disclaim all liability for any harm, accident, or injury that may result.

Contrary to what the majority of people believe, almost all cactus fruits are edible and packed with beneficial minerals. The pads of the plants, for example, are also tasty. This wild fruit is sweet and healthful, just like any other fruit. But if you’ve never tried the fruit, you might be wondering whether it’s actually safe to eat. We’ve got you covered, so don’t worry.

Therefore, is cactus fruit toxic? No. Cactus fruits come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but none of them are poisonous. Eaten cactus fruits are all safe. The sole distinction between the fruits of various cacti species is that some are sourer and more bitter than others. All of them, though, are edible and safe to eat. The Opuntia genus produces a sizable portion of the edible cactus fruits.

Continue reading to learn more about cacti fruits and some of the most popular varieties. So let’s get started straight away.


A cutting board should have the cactus paddles on it. Carefully scrape and slice off the thorns and dark brown lumps on all sides using a sharp knife.

Put the cactus paddles in a medium pot with salt, then add water until they are all submerged.

Using a high heat, bring to a boil. Cook for 10 more minutes while lowering heat to medium and covering the pan with a lid.

To eliminate any remaining sticky liquid, drain the water from the nopales and give them another rinse in warm water.

Eat simply or add your preferred seasonings to a sauté with a little olive oil. (For further uses of cooked nopales, see the post above.)

Isabel’s Tips:

Be careful when using cactus paddles if you haven’t before because they have small spines and thorns that can easily stab your fingertips. I advise putting on gloves when you initially start. You can try handling them without gloves once you get the hang of it.

Nopales that have been cooked can be kept for up to a week in the refrigerator in an airtight container.