When Is A Cactus Pear Ripe

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.

When a cactus pear is green, can you still eat it?

Green cactus pears are rectangular in shape, similar to an avocado, and small to medium in size, measuring 5 to 10 cm on average. The fruits develop from yellow, pink, red, or purple flowers that bloom on nopales or green cactus pads. The thick, light-green skin of the fruit is coated in rough glochids, which are bumps and spines. The skin’s areoles contain very small, invisible, sharp spines that resemble hair. The fruit’s yellow flesh is juicy and filled with numerous tough, eatable brown-black seeds. The seeds can be swallowed whole or thrown away entirely because they are too hard to chew thoroughly. When ripe, Green Cactus pears are juicy and aromatic offering a sweet flavor with nuances of pear and watermelon.

How can you tell whether a green prickly pear is ready to eat?

1. Beware of the glochids, those minuscule yet vexing spines that cover the fruit, as well as the plant spines.

2. To pick up the fruit, use tongs. Leather or gardening gloves can also be a smart idea.

3. Bring a bucket or a few large bowls that are suitable for food.

4. Take them right immediately.

By mid-August, most of the fruit is ready. Pick just those that are completely ruby in color; avoid any that have green ends. They ought to pop off the pad as soon as you twist them off, dribbling a little juice in the process.

5. Refrain from grabbing fruit off the ground.

6. Leave at least one fruit on each pad so that the plant may reproduce and the desert animals can eat their fair share.

Step 1:

Following thorough rinsing, there are three options to consider:

1. Place them in a blender and puree them completely, including the spines. According to Valds Schwemm, this is the simplest strategy. Strain (see below).

2. After a day or so, freeze them whole and mash them to extract the juice. Strain.

3. After softening in a pot, mash the food, and then filter.

Step 2: Set a clean T-shirt or cloth napkin inside a metal strainer and place it over a basin. She advises against using regular cheesecloth and warns that the material will be filled with spines after use.

Make your preferred recipe or freeze the juice for later in step 3. (I like to use muffin tins or ice cube trays to completely freeze them before putting them in a plastic bag for long-term storage.)

Step 4: Dispose of the excess slurry where the seeds can grow, such as in your yard or a desert.

What to produce:

  • Jelly or jam
  • Syrup (for pancakes or ice cream) (for pancakes or ice cream)
  • Cherry lemonade
  • mimosas or margaritas
  • Prickly pear and peach jam
  • BBQ prickly pear sauce
  • A kombucha tea (a type of fermented tea)
  • cheesecake with prickly pears
  • And this surprise vinegar is here. The vinegar samples that Valds Schwemm had were delicious and had a wonderful taste. It is made by combining the juice with a few teaspoons of raw, organic vinegar from a health food store. Give it some time to sit; as it ferments, it will eventually turn darker.

Roast the fruits over a gas flame to remove the spines if you wish to eat them whole. After that, peel and eat, or slice in half and remove the seeds first.

How much time does a cactus pear take to ripen?

The prickly pear, which is a berry, is a cactus fruit. The prickly pear’s pulp is sweet and juicy, and it has a flavor and perfume that are reminiscent of some of the best tropical and subtropical fruits, including strawberry, watermelon, honeydew melon, fig, and banana.

Once the fruit’s tough, black seeds are removed, the prickly pear’s salmon- or pink-to-magenta-colored flesh can be cut into slices or cubes and eaten uncooked. The flesh can be pureed and used as a flavoring for beverages or added to yogurts, sorbets, or ice cream. The prickly pear is referred to as “cactus candy” in Mexico.

The prickly pear fruit is typically 2 to 4 inches long and shaped like an egg or a barrel; it is comparable in size to a small guava or kiwi fruit. The skin is thick and gritty and can be a mixture of all of these colors, including green, yellow, orange, pink, or red. Blossoms of the same hue precede the color of the fruit and its flesh.

The prickly pear’s skin, which is essentially the rind of the fruit, is coated in hard spikes that need to be delicately removed. The cactus pears’ leaves, known as nopales, are edible as well. They too have prickly hairs or spines covering them.

Season. Late summer to early winter, or September to December in the northern hemisphere, is the peak season for prickly pears.

Select. Pick small, smooth, spotless, deeply colored prickly pears that are firm without being hard. When the fruit is ripe, it will give to light pressure. The skin has to be glossy. Avoid eating rotten or damaged fruit. Prickly pears have a week-long ripening period.

Store. For two to three days, prickly pears can be stored in the fridge in a plastic bag. At room temperature, firm prickly pears will ripen and soften in a few days.

Prepare. When preparing the prickly pear for cooking, exercise caution and wear some heavy-duty leather gloves. Cutting off the ends of the pears, removing the spines with pliers, making a small slit down the length of the fruit, and using a sharp knife to peel back the inner and outer layers of the skin from top to bottom. The prickly pear may contain tiny, practically undetectable stinging hairs. The fruit can be cleaned of these hairs by running it over an open flame. Press the fruit through a sieve or food mill to get the seeds out. To avoid the seeds hardening while cooking, make sure to remove them before cooking.

Cook. Slices of prickly pears should be simmered with water and sugar for 15 minutes or until they are soft. After that, combine, filter, and refrigerate. To prepare a salad dressing, mix this pure with white wine vinegar or cider vinegar.

Serve. Serve prickly pears whole, cubed, thinly sliced, or with lemon or lime juice sprinkled on top in fruit cups, salads, or other dishes. The sieved flesh can be used as a flavour for sorbets and yogurts, as well as in punches and cocktails. Prickly pear pure can be used to make juice or jam, as well as a filling for tarts and cakes.

Couples of flavors. Banana, honeydew melon, lemon, lime, orange, tequila, and watermelon are among the foods that prickly pears enjoy most.

Nutrition. Calcium, vitamin C, sodium, magnesium, and potassium are all present in prickly pears in addition to other nutrients. Prickly pears have few calories.

Trivia and facts about prickly pears. The prickly pear is also known as the Indian fig, cactus pear, tuna pear, or tuna fig. The Barbary fig or pear is the name given to the prickly pear in Britain. The prickly pear is known as Sharon’s fruit in Israel. Prickly pears are referred to as tunas in Spain and as fichi d’india in Italy.

Native Americans have long consumed prickly pears, which are indigenous to the Americas’ tropical regions. A member of the Optunia cactus family, which has more than 300 species, is the prickly pear. The majority are from the southwest of the United States or northwest Mexico. The most popular types are “Cardona,” which has a sizable red fruit and blossom, and “Amarilla,” which is primarily yellow.

A cactus pear should be what shade?

The pear-shaped cactus fruit grows on the cactus’ flat pads’ outer edges. They can be a variety of colors of orange ranging in color from green (less sweet) to red (extremely delicious). The small bumps you can see on them are not thorns; rather, they are covered in glochids, which resemble tiny hair-like splinters and can pierce your flesh. Glochids can be quite painful and are difficult to discern. Protect your hands when gathering prickly pear cactus fruit. Use a pair of thick gloves or a towel that has been folded into several layers. Stacking six paper towels together should likewise be perfectly OK. Grip the fruit with the gloves or towels and gently twist it. The riper fruits will pop straight off with very little effort, while the greener fruits will need a firmer grasp and more twisting. Fruits should be placed in a bowl or basket. Never handle the fruit with bare hands.

Are cactus and prickly pear 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 a cactus pear’s skin?

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.

When do prickly pears ripen in the year?

Whatever name you give it—prickly pear, cactus fruit, tuna (Spanish), figure de Barbary (French)—this tasty plant has a lot to offer and is ready for harvesting! In the Northern Hemisphere, prickly pears are at their peak from late summer to early winter, from September to December.


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.

How is a prickly pear cactus picked and consumed?

There are a few different schools of thought regarding how to harvest prickly pear fruit. Most foragers use a pair of tongs or something similar to simply twist off the fruits. Fruit that is ripe should easily twist off.

As an alternative, it has been asserted that using a little butane burner with a wand is the most effective approach. To remove the thorns and glochlids on the pear, use the tool. Harvesting prickly pear fruit with a burner reduces risk because the fruit is easier to handle because it is free of spikes.

Always leave some fruits out for birds and wildlife. Try not to overly pile the fruit in a basket or bag so that the bottom fruit doesn’t get damaged.

Is prickly pear cactus edible?

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?

The prickly pear cactus is found in open sand and dry areas in Indiana, including Kankakee Sands and the coastal dunes of Lake Michigan.

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.