cactus or prickly pears

Joined Dec 12, 2000
Has anyone ever tired them or worked with them ?. I got a couple the other day just to see what they are like, and I noticed that they are full of little seeds, now I was just wondering, if you're supposed to spit the seeds out, like water melon, or just eat them ?( I did the spitting thing, cause I wasn't sure).
Joined Jul 31, 2000
There are so many types of cactus that produce prickly pears, They hyperbreed.

Living in New England I do not use them because they are really dessert plants.
i would do a search and see what you come up with.
Good luck
Joined Mar 4, 2000
That's the problem with those buggers. In Morocco, they are sold on the streets, and people just bite into the peeled fruit. I don't remember if they swallowed the seeds or spit 'em out.
Joined Mar 13, 2001
Prickly Pear Juice

Select ripe prickly pears, including a few on the green side to add pectin if making jelly. Wash and rinse. Place in a pot with 1 cup of water and cook over low heat until tender (about 20 minutes). Mash with a potato masher and strain to remove seeds and fibers.

Prickly Pear Jelly

4 cups prickly pear juice
5 cups sugar
1 package of pectin

Follow manufacturer's directions for adding ingredients and boil for 5 minutes. Pour into sterilized jars and seal. Should syrup not jell, repeat cooking time.

Prickly Pear Puree

Wash and peel ripe prickly pears. Cut in half with a knife and scoop out the seeds. Force the raw pulp through a medium to fine strainer. Freeze either fruit pulp or the puree. Simply pack into freezer containers and seal. Thaw before using.

Prickly Pear Salad Dressing

1/2 cup prickly pear puree
1/3 cup salad oil (not olive oil)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
3 to 4 Tbs. tarragon white wine vinegar

Shake all ingredients together in a covered jar. Makes about 1 cup . This pretty pink dressing is thin like an oil and vinegar dressing, but lower in calories. Good on fruit salads and tossed green salads.

Prickly Pear Marmalade

4 cups chopped prickly pears
1 cup sliced lemon
2 oranges
1 or more cups if sugar (see below)

Chop orange peel and pulp. Add 4 cups water to lemon and orange. Let stand 12 to 18 hours in a cool place. Boil until peel is tender. Cool. Measure lemon, orange and water in which cooked. Add chopped prickly pears and 1 cup of sugar for each cup of combined pear, lemon, orange and water. Boil to the jellying point. Pour, boiling hot, into hot jars. Seal at once.

Prickly Pear Margaritas

(serves 4)

6 oz Tequila
4 oz Triple Sec
4 oz Lime Juice
2 oz Prickly Pear Cactus Syrup
1 oz Orange Juice

Directions: Mix ingredients and pour over ice into 4 glasses.

Cactus Wine Coolers

(Makes 1 - 8oz glass)

1 Scoop of ice
1 Tablespoon of Prickly Pear Syrup
1/2 glass Chablis wine
1/2 Glass 7-up

Directions: Fill glass with the ingredients and stir well.

Desert Blush Lemonade

(Makes 1/2 Gallon)

16 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 Cup sugar
1/4 Cup Prickly Pear Cactus Syrup
48 oz Water

Directions: Pour over ice or blend in a blender.

Arizona Style Prickly Pear Sun Tea
(Makes 1 - 8 oz glass)

Fill 8 oz glass with:

1 Scoop Ice
1 Tablespoon of Prickly Pear Cactus Syrup
1 Slice lemon, squeezed
Fresh Sun Tea

Directions: Brew desired amount of tea in glass jar in sun for at least one hour. Pour ingredients into 8 oz glass and stir well.
Joined Jul 24, 2001
Dear coolj, This is my favourite subject!!!
These fruits are my first culinary memory.

I remember myself as a child in Israel, having the delicious fruit EVERYDAY.

You eat the whole fruit!!! I have never seen a person spittings seeds.

As for Kimmie's recipes... I have to study them because I have never imagined that this fruit can be used in preparing anything.
Maybe when you are in the dessert and you are thirsty, all you need is something refreshing to clean your mouth from the sand...

BTW where did you find them? I mean I wonder if they taste the same in different climates...We have them in Greece also but the feeling is sooo different.

Joined Apr 24, 2001
Two weeks ago my apetite got the better of me. As I was passing a house with two fruiting cacti. I walked onto their front yard and picked up a fruit on the ground to see if it was good to eat. Well, the ants were already at it, so I opened the fruit and took a taste of the inside. It was better than the fruit I buy at the market. but I had a bus to catch so I returned the fruit to the ground and to the ants. When I picked up my bag of groceries, the first impression I got was pain. All the prickles were imbedded in my palm and a few ants trickled into my sleeve for good measure and started biting. Why do the good fruits have to involve the most pain? Like peaches ripe from the tree. Anyone ever got the fuzz under their chin after eating about three of them?

Those red cactus pear are a very exciting color for sorbets. But the fruit we get here doesn't have so much flavor. I'll bet North African cooks know what to do with them. Like guava, I gave up spitting out the seeds and just started swallowing. I find that I can enjoy the fruit better that way.
Joined Mar 12, 2001
collJ, when we lived in AZ., we used tongs or leather gloves and would go out in the desert and pick the fruit to use of jelly..and it makes a great pancake syrup. We only used the very red fruit, with one or two fainly green for the pectin for preserves. I also had a neighbor that used to slice and saute them in butter with sugar. Haven't done this in years, as the prickly pear fruit that I can get in VA isn't the best. I used to cook the fruit down and then freeze the puree to use at a later date........mmmm, now I actually am missing it....even with the stickers...a sturdy brush comes in very handy!
Joined May 29, 1999
being the dough head that i am,
desert is where the pears come from and
dessert is what you make with the pears you gathered from the desert.

dessert has two s's because you wish you could have two and desert has one because you don't want to walk through it even once!

Joined Jul 24, 2001
mbrown you are so cool!!!! :lol:

I have never though of writing desert uncorrectly because desert is sweet like dessert to me :bounce:
Joined Nov 29, 2001
We've been eating prickly pears since childhood. Mom managed to find them in produce stores in Brooklyn. They're a bear to peel sometimes as the stickers can be in those little spots all over the outside. I guess you have to pay some price to get to the fruit.

You can use them in all sorts of shee shee desserts but they are great out of hand. You swallow the "seeds" inside, they won't hurt you. Kind of feel lumpy going down, though.

Wear a bib, these suckers stain like the dickens.
Joined Oct 27, 2001
They do stain, but they are delicious. the place where I've seen them the most was Sardinia, off the coast of Italy. They also made the most amazing sweet liqueur from them. Delicious! But those recipes Kimmie look amazing, I'll need to download them and keep them for when I'm in sunnier climes!
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