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what do you make with prickly pears?


thecuriousone
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Hi All-

I have the good fortune to live near a fruit market with an extremely high turnover. Each day they box up the fruits and veggies that are less attractive and sell them as a box lot.

I try to buy a box twice a week as I can usually pick up all the fruits and veggies I need for my family for 5.00.

For example, today I got 10 lbs. of tomatoes, 1lb of mushrooms, 5 lbs. of peppers, celery, jicima, peaches, plums ( two types) onions, 5 lbs. of potatoes, ; lettuce, parsley, and shallots.

I've roasted the peppers, I will can the peaches, pickle the mushrooms, make jam of the plums, french onion soup with the onions, two types of stock are already on with the veggies. I have no idea what to do with the prickly pears. I've tried some of the recipe sites and all I saw was jam or margaritas. Any other suggestions, Are they used raw in salads? Are they viewed the same as nopales? Any help would be appreciated.

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[...]I have no idea what to do with the prickly pears.  I've tried some of the recipe sites and all I saw was jam or margaritas.  Any other suggestions,  Are they used raw in salads?  Are they viewed the same as  nopales? Any help would be appreciated.

If they are ripe, they will be sweet, with a flavor not dissimilar to watermelon.

Unfortunately, they may have tiny spines on the outside, and will have many small tooth breakingly hard seeds on the inside.

I'd just peel them and eat them.

I wouldn't put them in a fruit salad without warning your guests. You don't want to be paying anyone's dentist bills!

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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we just cut off either end, make a verical cut through the skin from end to end and unroll and eat.

and it DOES have hard seeds. wear gloves cause those prickles itch like hell if they get under ur skin.

search "nopales" i am sure u will get other cooking ideas. i have only ever had them fresh.

edit: rethinking what i wrote and reading other replies it made me think that there is a difference with what this cactus bears for consumption. so i checked a bit and there is two things from the cactus: the pads (nopalitos) and the fruit (nopales). the fruit is also, as Michelle points out below called "sabra" [hebrew]. if u look here it shows u what the difference is and makes some suggestions. they sound good. something new to try out :wink: .

Edited by ohev'ochel (log)
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Sorbet. I made some two weeks ago and it was delightful. Put the skinned fruits through a food mill (you may want to extract additional juices by pressing what remains in a strainer), add your sugar (or sugar syrup) and some lime or lemon juice. Freeze as you normally would in your ice cream freezer.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Here are some recipes from Daniel Rogov's website. Here is Israel, prickly pear is called Sabra and native Israelis are also called Sabra because the fruit is tough on the outside and soft and sweet on the inside.

Prickly Pear Recipes

I have also had prickly pear cheesecake, but I don't have a recipe for it.

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
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Thanks to all!

what is the difference between prickly pears and nopales? I know that one is green and thin, and one is fat and pink are there other differences? Are they treated the same for cooking purposes? I always thought nopales went into savory dishes, not sweet.

How do I know if they are ripe? some of these are green and some area rose color. Also, should I refrigerate them? are they eaten cold?

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Thanks to all!

what is the difference between prickly pears and nopales?  I know that one is green and thin, and one is fat and pink are there other differences?  Are they treated the same for cooking purposes? I always thought nopales went into savory dishes, not sweet.

How do I know if they are ripe? some of these are green and some area rose color.   Also, should I refrigerate them?  are they eaten cold?

Take a look at the link I provided:

As popular as they have been, their tough skins and sharp spines make them difficult to harvest and even more difficult to peel, so the fruits of the sabra have never become overly commercialized. Commercial sophistication never runs far behind demand these days, so agronomists and genetic engineers working at the Faculty of Agriculture at Rehovot started, several years ago, to explore the possibilities of developing a cactus fruit that would be free of sharp spikes. This particular plan has not yet come to fruition but the scientists have succeeded in adapting at least one type of Opuntia cactus so that it now produces spineless and edible pads. Named "nopalitos", because of their similarity to the pads of certain closely related Mexican cacti, the pads are easy and painless to harvest and equally easy to peel. Whether fried and eaten like vegetables, or served as fruit-like ingredients tosalads, nopalitos are rapidly becoming a part of the Israeli diet.

They should be slightly soft to the touch. You can eat them at room temperature. I don't refrigerate them.

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
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I don't have a recipe, but I remember reading about a prickly pear souflee once in a 'nouveau' Southwest cookbook. I think the puree was incorporated into the souflee and that it was also served a with a prickly pear sauce flavored with tequila...

Seems like the puree form of the fruit is one starting point as also evidenced by some of the other suggestions for ice cream and sorbets.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Prickly Pear juice makes a glorious Margarita or other cocktail of your choosing. The juice is a neon day-glo magenta color and looks so pretty in the glass it will undoubtedly make everyone want "one of those".

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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