How To Eat Cactus Pear (Prickly Pear)

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Learning how to eat a cactus pear is important, particularly if you live in an area of the world where this fruit is common.

How to Eat Cactus Pear?

Before learning how to eat a cactus pear, also known as prickly pear, you first need to know how to harvest them. The spiny hair-like fibers on the outside of these fruits, called glochids, are painful and hard to see, so always harvest while wearing gloves.

  • Step 1: After you pick the cactus pear, you will need to remove the glochids before preparing and eating these fruits. Some people prefer to burn off the glochids over an open flame, as the heat will cause them to pop and burn up.
Sliced prickly pear

Cactus pear is also known as Opuntia. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

  • Step 2: Following this, you will need to thoroughly wash the fruit.
  • Step 3: After it is dry, you want to begin by cutting off both the top and bottom of the fruit.
  • Step 4: Then, slice beneath the skin, roughly 1/4 inch deep. You can usually pull the skin off the fruit at this point, leaving only the ripe fruit beneath.
  • Step 5: There are two layers of the skin, so be sure that you remove both before eating the fruit.

The best way to eat a cactus pear is to simply slice the fruit and eat it raw. This is largely due to the presence of tiny seeds in the fruit that cannot be chewed, so including it in other recipes or smoothies can be difficult. If desired, you can pulp the fruit and strain out the seeds before eating.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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