Y’all seemed pretty happy to let me take the risk for you and experiment with weird fruit last time, so I thought I’d bring back Weird Fruit Wednesday for another go around. This time we’re taking a look at the prickly pear, otherwise known as a cactus pear.
Ain’t no cactuses in these here parts (unless they’re tiny and sitting on my mother’s coffee table) so when I read the instructions for how to prepare these fruits I ignored the part about how to safely remove the thorny fruit from a cactus after you had located it in the desert. These puppies are de-thorned so they don’t poke holes in each other on the way to the grocery store. But you see those little white pores everywhere? That’s the hidden killer – those are pores that usually house teeny tiny clear thorns that you can’t see and that get under your skin almost instantly. I gave these a hefty scrubbing in the sink to get rid of the last few that remained on the fruit after its travels all the way up to Canada, but there were one or two that I’m still trying to pull out of my fingers.
Anyway, injuries aside, getting into one of these babies is actually pretty easy. If you’re afraid of the wee invisi-spikes, then feel free to wear a pair of rubber gloves while you do this. I was already full of bristles so I didn’t bother. Cut off the top and bottom of the fruit, like so.
Then you want to cut into the skin of the fruit, but not the flesh. The skin is pretty thick, about half a centimetre.
In this picture of a lighter fruit you can see better the divide between skin and flesh.
Using a knife or two forks or just your fingers, peel away the skin. If it’s ripe (when you can kind of squeeze it like you would a peach or pear) then this should be pretty easy to do. Look at that colour! It’s like a beet. I hope it doesn’t taste like dirt.
Slice the fruit and serve as is.
There are a million little seeds in prickly pears, and they’re quite hard, so I don’t recommend chewing them. Just swallow them whole as the fruit flesh dissolves in your mouth. The sheer number of seeds turned the ever-picky Pie off right away but I didn’t mind them.
And the taste? Not surprisingly, it tastes almost exactly like a juicy pear, if pears were chock full of seeds and covered with spiky objects.
I’m not sure I’d eat them again, mainly due to the cost and the spikes, but they were pretty good!