Cactus Pear: Eat at Your Own Risk

by Andrea on June 14, 2011

I was merrily going about my produce shopping, when I spied this little gem:

The sign said cactus pear, but it didn’t look cactus-y nor pearish, and it was amongst the fruit.  I decided to pop one in my basket and make some progress on my life list goal of eating 500 fruits.

I came home and cut it open:

It’s a bit hard to tell in the photo, but the inside fruit is a gorgeous magenta.  The juice was also a very bright magenta.  Thus far, I was intrigued.

I had to take a little break and track down some tweezers as I had something pricking my finger.  After that was done, I scooped out a little and tried it.  Hmmm… a little flavorless and underwhelming.  I then did what any good wife would do, I made Brian try it just in case his taste buds picked up anything different.  Not so much. Then I asked him to go online to see if there is a proper way to eat this fruit.  And this was what he read to me:

“Handle the pear with gloves and place the fruit in a tub of cold water. This is the most effective method to simply wash away the spines. While still wearing your gloves, remove the skin of the pear by slicing the top and bottom ends with a sharp knife.”

Hmmm…. it would have helpful if that was in the produce section.  Or maybe include a set of gloves with each cactus pear?  Just saying.  But at least I could now explain the cut in my palm that had appeared earlier in the day (apparently when I selected my cactus pear from the grocer) and also explained that thing that was pricking my finger.  In case you are wondering, ‘that thing’ would be one of the ‘small, hairlike prickles called glochids, that easily penetrate skin and detach from the plant.’*

All in all, it wasn’t a total loss.  While I was attacked by the cactus pear and didn’t care for the flavor, I did discover a natural food coloring.  Check out my yogurt with just a few drops of cactus pear juice:

So pretty.  Okay, one more down in my quest toward eating 500 fruits!

*Fun fact compliments of wikipedia

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