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Step 1: Pick your Pears

Step one: find a fruiting cactus. Bring tongs.

This can be significantly easier than you might think. When I was a teenager living in Colorado, my friends and I would come across wild prickly pear cacti, bearing tiny fruits about the size of a super ball. Like many wild fruits (ever tried wild strawberries? They will BLOW YOUR MIND) the flavor is concentrated and intense, but it's completely impractical to collect enough to make anything with them.

Nowadays, I live in the muggy southeast instead of the arid southwest, and prickly pear cacti are weirdly easy to find. Around here (and, apparently, in much of the US), prickly pear cacti are a common landscaping plant. As summer wanes into fall, these enormous cacti (sometimes standing 5-6 feet tall) will become covered in yellow flowers, which will turn into plum-sized fruits.

To pick the fruits, grip them with the tongs, and gently twist the fruits off the cactus.

Why tongs, you ask? Well, do you see those little fuzzy spots on the fruit? The ones that look like they might be soft as a newborn baby's hair? Those are called glochids, and they are really bundles of hundreds of tiny fiberglass-like spines. While you're busy worrying about the long, scary spines on the pads of the cactus (known as "nopales," they are also edible!), the little hairy spines will detach and embed themselves into your skin. It's likely that you won't notice that this has happened until you brush the protruding end of one of these evil little spines into something, and it feels like you are having a tiny hole drilled into your skin. By a laser. A laser that is ON FIRE.

These spines can be dislodged from the fruit really easily - be very sure that you stand with your back to the wind while you pick these, as I cannot even imagine how horrible it would be to end up with a glochid in the eye.

If the fruit "gives" a little, and twists off easily, it's probably ripe. I'll be honest here: I have no idea when prickly pear fruit season is. I've read it's supposed to be in the late fall, but I collected these fruits in late November (they were delicious). So, late fall to early winter?

Put your fruits into a paper bag or other impenetrable container. Plastic bags will not stop the glochids from sticking you.
<p>I was innocently opening the cheese drawer in my fridge, when I noticed a whole container of these fell onto the floor. Not knowing what they were (my fiancee had brought them home), I just tossed them back into the container and back into the fridge. Went to wash my hands, and noticed I had dozens of little white &quot;glochids&quot; all in my hands. They're not super painful, but super annoying!!! They are so small it is difficult to pull them out. </p><p>You definitely want to wear gloves or do something to contain these &quot;glochids&quot; while harvesting this fruit!!!</p>
<p>Thanks for the great instructions. I made these tonight and found that I had torched the pears so long (scared of the stickers) that I didn't need to dig out the insides. I just cut off the ends through the whole thing into the blender. </p>
<p>I have to try this</p>
<p>These cacti are more nutritious and taste better than I'd ever have thought. Made a video recently on how to pick and eat them off the plant. Hope this helps. Enjoy!</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/E_5aUbfyjQA" width="500"></iframe></p>
Thank you for the video! <br>I enjoyed the comment from the Indian lady regarding her grandmother boiling the pears and skimming off the seeds and fiber. A great way for a good start for jelly!<br>These plants are easy to start and require little or no attention. I cut the paddles off at the join. Then let them set aside for a week or so till a good &quot;scab&quot; forms on the cut end. Prepare the soil with a small amount of potting soil and mostly sand in a well draining pot. I use a bit of rooting hormone on the moistened scabbed end. Set the padds about an inch in the soil and water. The bigger pads require some support until well rooted. I use a chop stick on each side of each one. Water a couple of times in the first month. They are slow growers but worth the wait!<br>That's it!<br> Thanks again to everyone for your posts.<br>
<p>Dear Editor, <br>Author, or persons authorized to give copyright <a rel="nofollow">permission. </a></p><p> <br>I am writing to you to get the permission to use your articles in my book The <br>Foodpedia Fresh Fruits and Vegetables books series and other books will follow, <br>on the history of other items in the food world. That will help the <br>people of the world to eat and stay Healthier. </p><p> I <br>care and I hope you care about passing on to the new generation to stay <br>Healthier.</p><p><strong>(REMEMBER SHARING IS CARING <br>! )</strong></p><p> I am writing <br>these books to &ldquo;give back&rdquo; my knowledge to the next generation of people, all <br>over this world. I am writing these books to educate the people about the <br>advantages of eating &ldquo;Fresh Fruits&rdquo; and &ldquo;Fresh Vegetables&rdquo; and how they can help <br>themselves to have a healthier body, and the foods that are not good for a <br>healthy body.</p><p> I got <br>your name from the website. On the Fruit you wrote about. I have your name on <br>the information that I used, so that you will get all the credit on it. <strong>I do <br>not want the credit for your works</strong>. You&rsquo;re the one that did all the <br>research on the food items. I have to rely on you for all this knowledge and <br>your researchers.</p><p> I praise <br>you for this, that is why I want you to get all the credit you put in to these <br>articles.</p><p> I have to rely <br>on your help to teach and training our next generation to live healthier. Then <br>living on all this junk food and all the chemical&rsquo;s they put into the foods we <br>eat today.</p><p> That is why we <br>are the product of this generation of obesity etc. We have to help our <br>new generation to eat and stay healthier so they can have a better life, then <br>being sick and overweight all the time.</p><p> The world is <br>changing and we have to change with it <strong>NOW</strong> for our kid&rsquo;s sake.</p><p> <strong>This <br>is the 21st Century NOW</strong>, and we have to do something about it <strong>NOW!</strong></p><p> I am on a <br>movement (mission) of caring and share to help, not to make the same mistake <br>this generation and our pass generations has made, to help them live healthier <br>lives better then we did.</p><p> But I <br>need your help to get this mission (movement) going. I need your <br>permission to let this happen, to use your research in food, to train and <br>educate the people of the world to eat healthier.</p><p> Remember <br>the people will go to your website for more updates. Because you are always <br>updating it, that I cannot do.</p><p> Can you please <br>e-mail the permission letter to authorize me to use your articles in my books <br>(The History of Fresh Fruits. { Foodpedia The History of Fresh Fruit }) I <br>have about 166 chapters of some of the fresh fruit used around the world, with <br>over 5,000 color pictures, and about 5,000 pages).</p><p> Can you please <br>email {foodpediapjh@gmail.com } with your permission to <br>use your articles so we can help the this and the next generation to live <br>and be healthier.</p><p> Thank You <br>Chef Paul J. Hintersteiner </p><p> Enclosed is the website of the articles I need permission <br>on </p><p>1.: http://www.incrediblesmoothies.com/recipes/how-to-use-oro-blanco-in-a-green-smoothie-recipe <br>http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Prepare-Prickly-Pear/step5/Puree-and-Purify-the-Prickly-Pear-Pulp/</p><p>Hi This is the second time I am writing you to get permission to <br>you your article(s) in my book The History of Fresh Fruit. From all over the <br>world. Can you please send me the permission. Thank You Paul</p><p>PS: the people of the world should know this, so they can live <br>a better and Healthier life. I am on quest to help this and the next <br>generation. I hope you will join me on the quest. Thank You Paul</p><p>I love this saying (<strong>&quot;The duty of a good <br>Cuisinier is to transmit to the next generation everything he has learned and <br>experienced.&quot;</strong></p><p><strong>Fernand Point, 1941) So I am not the only <br>that believes in this Chef Paul</strong></p>
<p>Dear Editor, Author, or persons authorized to give copyright <br>permission.</p><p>I am <br>writing to you to get the permission to use your articles in my book The <br>Foodpedia Fresh Fruits and Vegetables books series and other books will follow, <br>on the history of other items in the food world.That will help the people of the world to eat <br>and stay Healthier.</p><p>I care and <br>I hope you care about passing on to the new generation to stay Healthier. </p><p><strong>(REMEMBER SHARING IS CARING ! )</strong></p><p>I <br>am writing these books to &ldquo;give back&rdquo; my knowledge to the next generation of <br>people, all over this world. I am writing these books to educate the people about <br>the advantages of eating &ldquo;Fresh Fruits&rdquo; and &ldquo;Fresh Vegetables&rdquo; and how they can <br>help themselves to have a healthier body, and the foods that are not good for a <br>healthy body.</p><p>I <br>got your name from the website. On the Fruit you wrote about. I have your name <br>on the information that I used, so that you will get all the credit on it. <strong>I do not want the credit for your works</strong>. <br>You&rsquo;re the one that did all the research on the food items. I have to rely on <br>you for all this knowledge and your researchers.</p><p>I <br>praise you for this,that is why I want <br>you to get all the credit you put in to these articles.</p><p>I <br>have to rely on your help to teach and training our next generation to live <br>healthier. Then living on all this junk food and all the chemical&rsquo;s they put <br>into the foods we eat today. </p><p>That <br>is why we are the product of this generation of obesity etc. We have to help our new generation to eat and <br>stay healthier so they can have a better <br>life, then being sick and overweight all the time. </p><p>The <br>world is changing and we have to change with it <strong>NOW</strong> for our kid&rsquo;s sake. </p><p><strong>This is the 21st Century NOW</strong>, <br>and we have to do something about it <strong>NOW!</strong></p><p>I <br>am on a movement (mission) of caring and share to help, not to make the same mistake <br>this generation and our pass generations has made, to help them live healthier lives <br>better then we did. </p><p>But <br>I need your help to get this mission (movement) going.I need your permission to let this happen, to <br>use your research in food, to train and educate the people of the world to eat <br>healthier.</p><p>Remember <br>the people will go to your website for more updates. Because you are always <br>updating it, that I cannot do. </p><p>Can <br>you please e-mail the permission letter to authorize me to use your articles in <br>my books (The History of FreshFruits. <br>{ Foodpedia The History of Fresh Fruit }) I have about 130 chapters of some of <br>the fresh fruit used around the world, with over 5,000 color pictures, and <br>about 5,000 pages).</p><p>Can <br>you please email {foodpediapjh@gmail.com } <br>with your permission to use your articlesso we can help the this and the next generation to live and be <br>healthier.</p><p>Thank <br>You Chef Paul J. Hintersteiner </p><p>Enclosed is the website of the articles <br>I need permission on</p><p>http://www.incrediblesmoothies.com/recipes/how-to-use-oro-blanco-in-a-green-smoothie-recipe <br>2. http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Prepare-Prickly-Pear/step5/Puree-and-Purify-the-Prickly-Pear-Pulp/</p>
can you also eat the whole fruit like for example pears or apples?
<p>Chew the skins to a pulp and discard that or swallow it. Swallowing the small seeds is easy, but they're too hard to chew. The seeds can be made into a flour.</p>
I wouldn't recommend it. The skin is tough, and has a terrible texture.
Always good to see others using native fruits like these. I really like adding cactus apple juice to mesquite for jelly and wine making. Great 'ible!
Thanks! I wish we had mesquite out here, that sounds fantastic.
My method of removing the glochids is to swish them between two 5-gallon buckets, half full of water. Dump them from one bucket to the other, repeatedly, till all the glochids are floating on the water's surface. Dump the water, refresh, repeat till glochids are not present. A little pea gravel helps the agitation process. I made prickly pear jam last summer.<br>I love the idea of freezing the juice in ice cube trays.<br>Thanks for the 'ible!
That's a great idea! Flame-polishing them is fun, but not exactly efficient...
I live in Colorado, and what i always thought to be prickly pear is green. is it the same thing?
Yes! The color of the pear can vary depending on the specific cultivar of the cactus. I have no idea how to tell if the green ones are ripe, though.
Very interesting! I've never used them. What would you compare their flavor to? They remind me of beets when I see them. Cool. Thanks for sharing!
It's sort of hard to describe - a little like melon, a little like kiwi, a little like cucumber. It's much less tart than a kiwi.<br><br>For me, the color is almost as much of a draw as the flavor. Both the color and the flavor work pretty well in a margarita!
Hmmmm...a prickly margarita, very cool!
Awesome! I've always wanted to try these.
Thanks! I'd highly recommend them!

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