Step 3: DePrickle the Prickly Pear's Pokey Pads

Let's say you get home, and manage not to have all of the spines embedded in your hands. It's entirely possible to cut up and prepare the fruit without doing away with the glochids, but, frankly, it's worth the extra time it takes to remove them.

How? The same way we solve any problem: with fire.

Use a blowtorch to lovingly caress the surface of the fruits with a cleansing flame. The thin, reedy glochids will be incinerated much faster than it takes for the skin of the fruit to char or scorch. One fringe benefit of this method is that the heat from the flame makes the skin of the fruit glossy and brings out its vibrant red color.

Rinse the fruits off, and get ready to chop!
Very well done instructable! Here in Baja California Sur there is a cactus fruit that is very similar called pitaya. It is blood red and covered with the small spikey thorns. The consistency is like nothing else I have ever eaten. They are sweet and have a soft but crisp texture. The pitaya cactus usually bears fruit in November or late October. It makes a great jam!<br>
<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>
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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