Congrats to Errign who wins a coupon for a free POM tea drink!!
Thanks to everyone who left a comment!
Errign, I will contact you to get your address.
Do you know what this is? Neither did I. When I was grocery shopping over the weekend, there was a big pile of prickly pear fruits and I had never seen them before in my life! I asked the produce person (who looked like he was about 16) what they were. He showed me the ones that were ripe, he said just peel it and you can eat the whole inside, seeds and all!
So I brought some home and I peeled it, cut them into slices and my kids and I tried them. They taste wonderful! Not too sweet, but very flavorful. It kind of reminded me of pomegranates.
So, of course, I had to do research on it since I didn’t know what it was. It comes from the prickly pear cactus plant which looks like this:
Apparently the prickly pear cactus has been a staple of the Mexican and Central American diet for thousands of years. In the US it has been gaining popularity as an exotic, gourmet and HEALTHY addition to one’s diet. Now I was definitely interested in the healthy part. The Aztecs and Incas revere the cactus pear as a medicinal fruit.
These are all the health benefits:
Known to reduce cholesterol
Helps reduce gastrointestinal problems
Helps with digestion
Safe for diabetics – low glycemic food
Contain 8 out of nine essential amino acids
High in Omega 3’s and 6’s
1 cup of prickly pear fruit is only 61 calories and 5 grams of fiber!!
After reading even more about the pear, it turns out you can eat the the cactus part as well. That part (or pad of the cactus) is called the Nopal is treated like a vegetable. The inside of the prickly pear (called tuna) is treated like a fruit.
Most prickly pears at the store have had the prickly part removed, so you can handle them with your hands.
Boiled nopals are used in making salsa, you can add them to soup or a salad or omelet. You can grill it and coat it with salt and pepper and a little olive oil. They are ready when they are browned and soft.
The inside fruit can be eaten as is. You CAN eat the seeds, but don’t chew the seeds, (it doesn’t taste good if you chew the seeds) you can swallow them whole. You can also make prickly pear jam, jelly, or sorbet!
For further reading, check out these links:
Also check out recipes for this fantastic fruit at Cooks.com
Has anyone else tried this fruit before??