Prickly (Cactus) Pears
Approximately 3-5 prickly pears per lb. (about 24 lbs.)
Mexico or USA, depending on availability
Prickly pears (aka cactus figs, cactus pears, Indian figs, tuna) are actually neither a pear, nor a fig, but a berry that grows on certain varieties of cacti (edible cactus pads are harvested from the same plants). Inside their thick skin, the fruit is juicy and rather sweet, packed with tons of tiny, edible seeds. This variety of prickly pear has a somewhat watermelon-esque flavor.
Store fresh cactus pears in your refrigerator. Prickly pear puree can be frozen for long term storage.
Up to five days fresh.
RECIPES & TIPS
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.