Although it may be too soon to label prickly pear cactus as a superfood, it can still be included in a balanced diet. It contains lots of fiber, carotenoids, and antioxidants. Prickly pear cactus is in fact well-liked throughout the world, especially in Latin America where it is a native plant.
Cactus fruit: where can I find it?
Fruit of the cactus variety can be discovered in Stardew Valley. Only the Calico Desert supports its growth. However, the Sandy oasis sells cactus seeds.
What stores sell prickly pear cacti?
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.
Where can you find cactus fruit?
Prickly pears are indigenous to only the Americas, like the majority of real cactus species. Since then, they have spread to several other parts of the world thanks to human activity.   There are many varieties of prickly pears in Mexico, particularly in the central and western parts and on the Caribbean islands (West Indies). Prickly pears are indigenous to many regions of the Western and South Central United States, which are arid, semiarid, and prone to drought. These regions include the lower elevations of the Rocky Mountains, the southern Great Plains, where species like O. phaeacantha and O. polyacantha become dominant, and the desert Southwest, where several types are endemic. O. humifusa, O. stricta, and O. pusilla, which are distributed from the East Coast south into the Caribbean and the Bahamas, are also native to sandy coastal beach scrub ecosystems of the East Coast from Florida to southern Connecticut. Additionally, the eastern prickly pear is indigenous to the “sand prairies” of the Midwest, which are close to significant river systems including the Mississippi, Illinois, and Ohio rivers.  Additionally, the plant naturally grows in hilly southern Illinois and rocky or sandy northern Illinois regions. 
One subspecies of Opuntia, O. fragilis var. fragilis, has been discovered growing along the Beatton River in central British Columbia, southwest of Cecil Lake at 56 17′ N latitude and 120 39′ W longitude. Opuntia species are the most cold-tolerant lowland cacti, extending into western and southern Canada.
 Others can be seen in northwest Alberta’s Kleskun Hills Natural Area, which is located at 55 15′ 30″ North and 118 30′ 36″ West. 
Prickly pears also yield the fruit known as tuna, which is popular in Mexico and the Mediterranean region and is also used to make aguas frescas.
 The fruit’s color options include red, wine-red, green, and yellow-orange. The Galpagos prickly pear, O. galapageia, which was formerly considered to be a number of separate species, is now merely broken down into variations and subvarieties.  These have been referred to as “an excellent illustration of adaptive radiation” because the majority of them are restricted to one or a few islands.  In general, islands with giant tortoises have towering, trunked kinds, while islands without tortoises have low or prostrate forms of opuntia. Prickly pears play a crucial role in the food chain since they are a main source of nutrition for the common giant tortoises on the Galpagos Islands.
The fact that these cacti have thigmotactic anthers, which fold up when touched and release pollen, was discovered by Charles Darwin. Gently prodding the anthers of an open Opuntiaflower will reveal this movement. Other animals have undergone converging evolution for the same characteristic (e.g. Lophophora).
Prickly pears were first introduced to Australia in 1788 by Governor Phillip and the first settlers. Prickly pears were brought from Brazil to Sydney, New South Wales, where they were first found in a farmer’s garden in 1839. They seem to have moved out of New South Wales and wreaked havoc on the eastern states’ ecosystems. They can also be found in parts of Southern Europe, particularly Spain, where they grow in the country’s east, south-east, and south. They can also be found in Malta, where they grow all over the islands. They are also found in the Mediterranean region of Northern Africa, particularly in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia, where they grow all over the countryside. They were brought to South Africa from South America and are present there in huge numbers.
In places like Australia, Ethiopia, South Africa, and Hawaii, among others, prickly pears are regarded as an invasive species.
Prickly pears, principally O. stricta, were first brought to Australia in the 18th century and Europe in the 1500s for use in gardens. Later, they were employed as a natural agricultural fence and in an effort to start a cochineal dye industry. They soon spread over Australia as an invasive weed, eventually turning 260,000 km2 (101,000 sq mi) of farming area into a dense, 6 m (20 ft) high prickly pear jungle. What they referred to as the “green hell” drove a large number of farmers from their property; their abandoned dwellings were crushed under the cactus growth, which was expanding at a rate of 400,000 hectares (1,000,000 acres) each year.  The Commonwealth Prickly Pear Board was founded by the Australian federal government in 1919 to coordinate efforts with state governments to remove the weed. After initial attempts at mechanical removal and the use of toxic pesticides failed, biological control was tried as a last resort.  The ant The South American cactoblastis cactorum, whose larvae consume prickly pears, was imported in 1925 and drastically decreased the cactus population. The renowned entomologist Frederick Parkhurst Dodd’s son, Alan Dodd, played a key role in eradicating the prickly pear threat. In Chinchilla, Queensland, a memorial hall honors the moth.  An efficient method of halting the spread is to introduce cochineal insects, which consume the cacti while also killing the plant. 
Natural distribution happens when several creatures, such as antelopes, nonhuman primates, elephants, birds, and people, consume and spread seeds.
 The plant’s sharp parts hurt elephants’ mouths, stomachs, and intestines when they consume them. 
In a 3-month clinical study, cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica) fiber was found to encourage weight loss. In vitro studies have shown that cactus fiber binds to dietary fat, reducing absorption, which in turn reduces energy absorption and, eventually, reduces body weight.
Subjects and Methods
For about 45 days, healthy volunteers participated in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled crossover study for this clinical investigation. Twenty healthy volunteers were randomly assigned to receive 2 tablets of cactus fiber or a placebo with each of their three main meals. During the research period, all subjects received meals (with the exception of washout) in accordance with a predefined meal plan, with fat making up 35% of the daily energy requirement. Both the baseline and treatment periods saw the collection of two 24-hour feces samples for the evaluation of the fat content.
What advantages do cactus fruits have?
Amino acids, fatty acids, and antioxidants like betalains, polyphenols, and flavonoids are all present in the fruit of the Opuntia cactus.
Although the nutrients in cactus fruits vary, they all contain a range of antioxidants that are known to shield cells. These antioxidants aid in lowering your body’s levels of triglycerides and bad cholesterol. Additionally, they can lower body fat percentages and lower your risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
Because of its betalain and potassium levels, cactus fruit can aid in bettering digestion. While betalains are anti-inflammatory and aid in protecting your digestive tract, potassium improves food absorption.
Cacti can be eaten raw.
You can either leave the pads whole, cut them into strips, or chop them into cubes, depending on how you intend to use this vegetable. Cacti that are edible can be eaten raw or cooked. They can be grilled, sautéed, boiled, simmered, or deep-fried. Their ideal serving texture is soft and crispy. The texture of overcooked pads will be slimy. Combine them with various ingredients to create a range of wholesome, nutrient-rich recipes. Here are some recommendations:
You might need to switch the water you’re using to boil the pads and re-boil 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. After draining, the pads are washed in cold water. Why not prepare a traditional Mexican salad with diced tomatoes, cilantro, jalapenos, onions, and lime juice? Salt and pepper are other good additions.
Season the pads well with salt and pepper if grilling them. When the pads are somewhat brown in color and soft to the touch, they are prepared. Additionally, you may season them with a dash of salt, a squeeze of lime juice, and a little olive oil.
Cactus pads can be added to various meals, either raw or cooked, to create flavorful, nutritious foods. They can be blended into a smoothie, or they can be diced and added as a topping to yogurt or cereal. Why not attempt incorporating them into stews, casseroles, and eggs. They make a delicious addition to quesadillas and salsa. You can choose to consume this adaptable, healthy vegetable alone, in a robust vegetable soup, in a fruit or vegetable salad, or even simply by itself! It can also be prepared into a jelly. Cactus pads can also be pickled and used to other meals as a condiment.
Cactus fruit can you cultivate it?
The prickly pear cacti, or more popularly known as the opuntia genus of the cactus family, are endemic to the Americas and are most usually found in Mexico and the dry, desert regions of the western and southern United States. For people who are native to these places, the fruits and pads of these cacti are basic foods. They are also utilized in traditional medicine as a natural cure for a number of diseases.
While you can go out and gather the fruits and pads or buy them at the shop, you could prefer to grow your own opuntia cactus so that you can gather the fruits or leaves to enjoy at home or share with friends.
Prickly pears are simple to grow and do well in most Southern California regions. They are drought resistant, have low water needs, and offer beauty to low-water, low-maintenance landscape.
Before we discuss how to cultivate prickly pear cactus, it’s crucial to remember that they shouldn’t be grown near children or animals because of its poisonous glochids and spines.
Is cactus fruit poisonous?
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.
Prickly pears are they 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.
Consuming a ton of prickly pears will not cure you completely (see the above warning), but its oil might improve your health and be a changing and boosting agent in your healing process. 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 is a born foodie. 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.