Red Cactus Pears
Inventory, lb : 0
This item was last sold on : 12/14/16
The Red Cactus pear grows from flowers produced on the tip of prickly pear cactus pads or nopales. At first green, the skin of the fruit ripens to have a deep rosy red hue. Its exterior is spotted with brown dots, or areoles from which prickly spines, or glochids protrude. Its interior flesh is vibrant magenta and filled with hundreds of tiny edible seeds. Its sweet taste and fresh aroma is reminiscent of watermelon.
Red Cactus pears are available early fall through the spring.
The Red Cactus pear, also known as Cactus apple, Prickly pear, Barbary, Tuna and Indian Fig grows on the prickly pear cactus, which is of the genus Oputina and a member of the cactus family (Cactaceae).
Cactus pears are low in both sodium and calories, with a medium sized pear containing about 40 calories. They are an excellent source of vitamin c and provide some dietary fiber as well, which has been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels. Prior to the advent of antibiotics and vaccines, Cactus pear was used to treat and prevent a number of different aliments as it was believed to have anti viral properties.
Most commercially sold Cactus pears have been mechanically de-pricked but some stinging invisible hairs remain and pears must be peeled before serving. Hold the fruit with tongs or wear rubber gloves to protect hands and run under cold water then cut off both ends. Slice open the pear from end to end and gently peel away the skin by slipping the tip of a knife under the skin. The interior flesh can be used as is sliced and served atop yogurt, salads, cereal or crackers and cream cheese. It can also be pressed through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds and make a puree. Use cactus pear puree to make sauces, dressings, marmalade and jam. Pureed fruit may be frozen for later use in pies, cakes, sorbets and chilled beverages.
Native to Mexico and the Americas the Cactus pear fruit of the prickly pear cactus has long been used there as a staple food and for medicinal purposes as well. The prickly pear cactus can thrive in a variety of different soils and is drought resistant once propagated. In Australia the prickly pear cactus has been so tolerant of the environment that it has grown in some areas of the country such that it is considered a weed. Both Mexico and the southwest United States still remain major suppliers of Cactus pear today with additional supply coming from the Mediterranean, particularly Sicily.
Recipes that include Red Cactus Pears. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Kitchen Tested||Prickly Pear Jam|
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