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PRICKLY PEAR

€4.50
VAT included

The Versatile and Exotic Fruit: Prickly Pear

Prickly pear is an exotic and refreshing fruit that comes from cacti. It has an oval shape and a spiny skin that must be carefully peeled. Its pulp is juicy and sweet, with a slightly acidic touch and many crunchy seeds. Its color can vary from green to purple, depending on the variety. It is a very versatile fruit that can be eaten fresh or used to prepare juices, jams, ice creams, desserts, or sauces. The paddle or nopal of the prickly pear can also be used to make savory dishes. Prickly pear is rich in vitamin C, fiber, calcium, and other minerals. It is an antioxidant, hepatoprotective, metabolic regulator, and astringent food.

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Benefits and Varieties of Prickly Pear

Prickly pear is the fruit of the prickly pear (Opuntia ficus-indica), a succulent plant belonging to the cactus family that originates from Mexico and has spread worldwide, especially in arid and Mediterranean areas.

Prickly pear has an oval or ellipsoidal shape, a thick and spiny skin that changes color depending on ripeness, and a fleshy pulp with many seeds that can be of various colors, from greenish-white to purple. Its taste is sweet with a refreshing acidic touch.

Properties and Benefits

Prickly pear is a fruit with low caloric value (less than 50 kcal per 100 grams) and high water content (90%). It is rich in vitamin C, fiber, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. Among its beneficial properties are the following:

  • Hepatoprotective: helps protect the liver and fight hangovers and fatigue.
  • Antioxidant: prevents premature aging and reduces bad cholesterol.
  • Metabolic regulator: favors blood glucose control and is suitable for diabetics.
  • Astringent: stops non-acute diarrhea and regenerates the gastric mucosa, relieving acidity and gastritis.

Prickly Pear Varieties

There are different varieties of prickly pear distinguished by their color and taste. The main ones are:

  • Green: the most abundant in the Mediterranean basin and has a sweet and mild taste.
  • Reddish: the tastiest and most aromatic, with an intense red color.
  • Yellow: has a bright yellow color and a refreshing acidic taste.
  • Purple: has a dark purple color and a sweet and pleasant taste.

Consumption and Recipes

Prickly pear can be consumed in various ways, both raw and cooked. The most common way is to peel it carefully to avoid pricking oneself with the thorns and eat it fresh as a fruit. It can also be used to make juices, jams, ice creams, desserts, salads, or sauces. Additionally, the paddle or nopal of the prickly pear can be used to prepare savory dishes such as soups, stews, or tortillas.

If you want to know more about prickly pear and its varieties, I recommend consulting the following sources:

Recipe: Prickly Pear Granita

To make a delicious prickly pear granita, you only need the following ingredients:

  • 250 g of ripe prickly pears
  • 2 tablespoons of honey or your preferred sweetener
  • 500 ml of water

The steps to follow are as follows:

  1. Peel the prickly pears carefully to avoid pricking yourself with the thorns. You can use gloves or a cloth to protect your hands.
  2. Place them in a blender glass and blend until you get a puree. If you prefer, you can strain it to remove the seeds.
  3. Add the honey or sweetener and water and mix well.
  4. Pour the mixture into a tray or container suitable for the freezer and put it in the freezer for about 3 hours, stirring every half hour to form ice crystals.
  5. Serve the granita in glasses or cups and enjoy this refreshing and nutritious drink.
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