Foraged Red Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit
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Red Prickly pear is produced from the flowers of the cactus pad and is also known as the Cactus apple. This fruit has a deep red outer skin when ripe and has very sharp protruding spines. The inner flesh is a deep red and contains numerous tiny black seeds. The Red Prickly pear has an overall sweet flavor that is reminiscent of watermelon.
Wild Red Prickly pear is available in the spring throughout the early fall.
The Red Prickly pear cactus fruit is botanically known as Opuntia basilaris. It is also known by the common names, the Indian Fig and Bevertail cactus.
The Red Prickly pear cactus offers a high amount of antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin C and a variety of minerals. This fruit also offers powerful anti-inflammatory properties and has been used to successfully treat type II diabetes.
Red Prickly pear fruit can be used in a variety of culinary applications. The pear itself can be pickled, made into a jelly, or a vinaigrette for salads. The pear's sweet flavor is ideal for adding to syrups, sauces such as barbeque sauce, margaritas and other cocktails. Red Prickly pear can be added to numerous dessert and baking applications such as sorbet, truffles, pastries and more.
Since the Red Prickly pear has a wide distribution throughout the United States, there were many Native American tribes that used this plant for medicinal purposes as well as a food supply. The pads of the cactus were soaked and used for wound healing and also improved lactation in nursing mothers. Legend, states Mexico city was founded on a spot where an eagle was seen strangling a snake on top of a Red Prickly Pear cactus.
The Red Prickly pear is typically found at a elevation below 6,000 feet and in a variety of different climates. The Red Prickly pear cactus can be found growing in arid climates, deserts, valley grasslands, chaparrals, woodlands and even urban areas. Found mainly throughout the West and Southwest, the Native Americans used many varieties of the Red Prickly pear as a food source.
Recipes that include Foraged Red Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Real Housemoms||Arizona Mule Cocktail|
|One Green Planet||Cactus Pear Sorbet|
|Sweet Life||Prickly Pear Margarita|
|Hola Jalapeno||Raspberry-Prickly Pear Agua Fresca|
|Nibbles and Feasts||Prickly Pear Jam|
|Simply Recipes||Nopalitos with Tomatoes and Onions|