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November 11, 2007



Let me be the first to comment about the Prickly-Pear Cactus Fruit Salad.

Quite simply, I love prickly pears and usually when they are in season in NYC I can eat about 4 in one sitting! Yes, prickly pears and fresh figs (from my garden)make for a great breakfast, brunch or lunch....

Thank you, welcome back Mrs. & Mr. Scrumptious...

Stephanie Beack

Flo, you're lucky to have them in your garden! What variety do you have? Do the green ones have different flavor than the purple ones? I'm a cactus-newbie! Since you have fresh figs in your garden, did you ever see this sandwich I posted? DIVINE and decadent... http://scrumptious.typepad.com/srbeack/2006/10/a_little_sweet_.html

John Dicus

Yes, there is a difference in the taste of the fruits. You can taste a half differnt ones in one day, and get essences of mangos, apricots, melons etc. Each variety will be different. Most cactus fruits are of the genus 'Opuntia', often called Prickly Pear. Some people also can find the fruit of Hylocereus and others called 'Pitaya' generically.. and for a short season the Saguaro cactus has fruits.

Stephanie Beack

John, welcome to Scrumptious Street and thank you so much for educating us! I appreciate you letting us know about the different varieties and tastes.


Hi from Namibia - somewhere in Africa
We also have prickly per cacti in Namibia. There are basically two types. The dark red smaller type ripens in our winter time - June and July the green-yellow thicker type in Summer. The winter type is very sour and ideally suited for juices which I get with the steam juicer. The summer type is sweet and delicious as a dessert fruit. Your recipe is delicious.

Stephanie Beack

Welcome, Ulrike! I have yet to try the sour, greener variation. I hear they're also unique and interesting. So glad you like my recipe, what are some of your favorite ways to use prickly pear? Care to share local ideas or recipes?

Karyn Rasor

You can also use the new(young,small) pads of the prickly pear in cooking. They are very tasty mixed with scrambled eggs, or you can boil them. This way they favor a green bean flavor. They sell them in some grocery stores, but they are usually packed in brine. They are called nopalitos.

Stephanie Beack

Karyn, this sounds terrific and I'll have to try both scrambling and boiling. Thanks for the tips!

Ben Roberts

I just stopped in for a minute, finding the older post here and was happy to see that prickly pear has made it to NY. I wanted to share with you, that prickly pear makes a fantastic jelly, as well. When the fruit are ripe, around late Sept. to mid-October, I scour the older neighborhoods here in Las Vegas, finding enough fruit to make about 100+ 1/2 pint jars of jelly. I usually trade a jar of jelly for the privilege of picking fruit from someone's yard. The fruit are called 'Tuna' in Spanish and the pads(which are edible in the spring when they are young and tender and about 6" to 10" in length) are called 'Nopalitos'...found in the grocery store, either in brine, pickled, or fresh.

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