Take care when handling prickly pears - unskinned pears may have a few tiny spines remaining, and once peeled their vibrant red juice can stain.
Prickly pears should be peeled prior to consumption. To peel: first slice off both ends, then make a deep slit down one side (lengthwise). You should be able to peel the thick skin off easily in a single strip. The pear is now safe to eat.
Use cactus pears in salads, candies & jellies, pureed, then strained for drinks, sauces, dressings, meat glazes & sorbets, or simply chilled and eaten as a snack. They’re a great exotic cocktail ingredient, particularly when used with tequila.
Pair cactus pears with citrus juice (particularly orange or lime), salty greek cheeses, or chile peppers to balance their intense sweetness.