Have you ever seen a prickly pear cactus? It’s one of the most peculiar things. It’s pricks look so rough, but it’s yellow spring flowers are so inviting. Imagine my excitement when I learned you could actually eat these things! Our neighbor has a prickly pear cactus that grows into our backyard and I didn’t think he’d mind if we plucked a few for tasting. After some advice on how to go about prepping one of these suckers, I finally got a taste of the sweet nectar.
First, you’ve got to pick a prickly pear that looks good to you. These guys can get pretty battered and you want to choose one with little to no scarring or bruises. It should also be brightly colored. After you find one that’s to your liking, grab some kitchen tongs (to protect you from the pricks) and twist the pear while pulling it from the cactus.
Next you’ll want to cover them with cold water. This will help you remove the pricks while washing them. As soon as you starting running water over them, you’ll see pricks in the water. Take your tongs and roll the fruit around, removing them as best you can. You can even rub them with the tongs to get more off. Once the majority of them are removed, you can carefully pick them up and pluck any small ones that might have “stuck” round. (Hehe)
From here, you’ll want to chop off the ends and slice the skin for easier peeling. Un-peel the fruit from the thick skin carefully,the fruit inside is fragile. We sliced ours and served it with goat cheese, pistachios, and homemade cranberry flax crackers. They were good and sweet.
*Note, I’ve been told you can eat the seeds, but I found them too hard, so I discarded them in a napkin.