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Prickly Pear Fruit

Prickly pear is a cactus fruit and actually has the same prickly extensions characteristic of cactus plants. It is a sweet fruit and can be eaten raw like other fruits. Of course, it may be in your best interest to remove the outer layer of prickly extensions first. 

As peeling the “skin” off isn’t practical when handling this fruit, there is a unique method to removing the outer layer. Secure the fruit onto a utensil that can be extended over an open flame on the stovetop. The follicles from which the sharp projections grow will blacken when the projections have fallen off. The second step is to peel the skin back with your fingers.

Revealed beneath the outer layers is the flesh of the fruit that is shaped like a pear – hence its name. There are seeds in the fruit which are safe to digest.
Prickly pear fruit grows both wild and in controlled environments (plantations) in Mexico. It ripens by late summer. It is used commonly in desserts and salads in Mexican cuisine.

Information courtesy of:
http://mexicanfood.about.com/od/techniques/tp/Prickly-Pear-Cactus-Fruit.htm
http://www.saveur.com/article/Kitchen/Juicy-Fruit

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