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Prickly pears are delicious on the inside but vicious on the outside. Here's how to get past their prickly exterior and into their sweet, succulent soul. 

You'll need kitchen tongs, a sharp knife, a fork, a cutting board, a big bowl, a plate, and a food mill. 

You'll probably also want some tweezers or duct tape on hand to remove the inevitable hairy thorns that will get stuck in your skin despite your best efforts. 

Step 1: Use tongs to get the prickly pears off the cactus

The cactus itself is dangerous with its sharp needle-like thorns. But the fruits are really nasty, looking so coy and friendly with fuzzy dots on them. Those fuzzy dots are actually zillions of hair-like thorns that will sneak into your skin like shards of glass. Trust me, you don't want to touch them. 

There are a few ways to get the fruits off the cactus. You could wear thick gardening gloves, but the problem with that is that your gloves will then be covered with insidious hair-thorns that will attack you next time you touch them. I opt to use kitchen tongs that keep me at a safe distance and can be washed clean without ever touching my skin. 

Grab a prickly pear in the tongs and gently twist it off the cactus. Ripe ones are more red and will easily release from the tree. I gather a bunch of fruits in a large bowl and run the whole thing under water before the next step. 10 good size fruits will yield about a liter of juice.


Oh we're Mexican we just eat the seeds, they aren't bad. It actually makes it fun!! ?
<p>Just yielded my first batch of Prickly Pear / Cactus fruit juice. In my opinion: not overly sweet, yet delicious and easily assumed into different drink concepts.</p><p>It's seedier than a pomegranate, so it really doesn't work well as an edible fruit, but it yields a wonderful bounty as a juice.</p><p>I tortured myself for several hours avoiding the spines and the seeds, and finally realized the simplest, least expensive solution of all. Not to mention a quarter of the time.</p><p>Feel free to visit: blackeireman@gmail.com and gander: blackeireman.wordpress.com</p>
So, in texas and probably most of the sw us, we have a handy tool called a pear burner. Pear burner as in prickly pear, not bartlet pear, and this is what it is for. Actually it was developed by ranchers to burn off thorns and glochids so cows were able to use them as a food source in dry years, but works great for people too! Pear burners cost about 30 bucks, at the farm and ranch store or home depot. Scorch the cactus first then pick off the glochid free fruits.. Other than the fact that other animals will eat the nopals and pears that you scorch, since they are now thorn free, the prickly pear plant won't be bothered at all.
Oh yeah, and the heat from the burner helps the skins to separate easier, too.
<p>I have found that rubbing the cats apples with my hands removes most of the spines and then they can be eaten safely. </p>
<p>Great Instructable! I have never tasted anything sweeter in nature other than maybe honey. :)</p>
What would you recommend if you don't have a food mill on hand?
Why cant we touch the skin? Is it poisonous?
Nope. It's a cactus.
No, the skin of the fruit is covered in a bunch of tiny needles that can get stuck onto skin easily.
I laughed at some of your comments.
<p>I found that letting them sit in very hot water (about 15 mins) then wearing gloves wipe them off under running water and it removes all cactus spines.</p>
<p>also i am looking for a recipe to make jelly from them, anybody have one?</p>
<p>Just wondering if you know what the vitamin C is in a liter of tuna juice?</p>
<p>I am anna i am 6 year's old</p><p>i tried it . i did not really like it.</p><p>BYBY</p>
<p>My mom used to make prickly pear jam. I think she burned the finer thorns off.</p>
<p>Almost all are removed. The taste ranges from cucumber like to deliciousand sweet(much better and refreshing than watermelon in my opinion), depending on the variety</p>
Usually when you touch a cactus (cutting its fruit should be worse than touching) it releases lots of little invisible spines that are really painful if they would be in your hand and you'd touch something (your device to research how to take them off) you should either wear gloves OR put your hand in a pot / bowl with warm water (very comforting :D )
Haha! Very fun instructible! Is there any flavor that comes close to the prickly pear juice, so I know what to expect?
The ones I'm using taste sort of like really intense watermelon, but I've heard different varieties taste different - anything from sweet to sour.

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