Prickly pear fruits
In Arizona, we see prickly pears all over the place.
The great thing about them, other than it takes like no work for them to grow, is that they have tons of health benefits. So these cacti are a great thing to add to your landscape, especially since the fruit and the actual cactus are edible.
Today we are just going to focus on the fruit. It’s rich in magnesium, potassium, contains vitamin a and c and just one 4 ounce fruit has 4 grams of fiber… great for the digestive system.
So let’s talk about what to do with the fruit once you’ve picked it from the plant. First, don’t try picking it with your hands or you will definitely pay for it. Just like a cactus, there are lots of sharp spines in the fruit that you really can’t see. I learned the hard way… I’ve been picking them out of my fingers for weeks. So i use tongs to pick the plant. As for cutting the fruit, some people use gloves so they can use their hands to peel off the skin. After my experience with the spines, I don’t want to chance it. So I simply take a fork and knife and I cut the skin off the fruit. Next you’ll want to slice it down the middle and scoop out the seeds. The seeds are edible but I throw them in the compost and I just use the fruit.
It’s actually really sweet, so you can slice it and eat it. You can also add it to your smoothies or even juice it and add it to your drinks. You can also make jams out of it.
As for storage, unpeeled prickly pears will stay good for up to a week in the fridge and couple of days if you peel them. You can freeze them; just peel the fruit, then throw them in a baggie and into the freezer. No matter how you choose to eat them, the benefits are definitely worth it.
I’ve included links to prickly pear recipes below. If you have any, feel free to share them on our Facebook page… facebook.com/thegreendesert.
Did you know?
Herbal seeds have been found in pre-historic cave dwellings dating as old as 500,000 years. Our ancestors have always used herbs as food and as remedies.
The Egyptians studied herbs and used them in medicinal and religious functions as far back as 3500 B.C. The Chinese began the organized study of herbs in 2500 B.C. Written records inChina have survived enumerating the uses of herbs that date from 100 B.C.
The discovery of America itself is linked to Western civilization’s search for easier access to rare spices and herbs. Columbus was, in fact, hoping to open trade routes for these substances when he blundered into the West Indies and the Age of Exploration unveiled the New World.
Western medicine eventually turned away from “herbalism” and concentrated instead on chemical cures. It is interesting to note, however, that many of the chemicals and medicines that have been developed over the years are in fact based on active ingredients present in herbs and plants.
Today’s modern healthy lifestyles are learning to include ancient herbs and supplements as part of a holistic approach to life. Ginko, Ginseng etc. have never been so widely used.
Besides medicinal use, herbs have always been part of human food preparation. Who can imagine a life without Basil, Thyme, Rosemary or any of the herbs we’ve come to love in our cuisine?
Herb gardens are an easy and fun way to bring healthy, fresh foods and nutrients into your daily life. Organic herbs and plants should be an essential part of your diet.
Aromatherapy owes its existence to fresh, organic herbs.
A little easy research and you can make organic herbs, and herbal supplements part of your life. It’s the kind of knowledge that will set you free to enjoy life fully.