Gourmet Food Source
Prickly pears are the fruit of a variety of cacti and can be found growing in most hot and dry climates from the Americas where they originate to the Mediterranean.
The fruits grow into long oval shapes starting with a thick green shell turning yellow, red or purple. They require careful handling; the shells are covered in tiny, sharp needles and should be handled with gloves.
To prepare, drop the fruits into cold water then slice the needles away with a sharp knife. Take a small slice from both ends of the fruit then carefully slice the skin lengthways taking care not to cut into the flesh. The skin will then peel easily away to expose the flesh.
They are often eaten raw or combined with other fruits in simple dessert preparations. The flesh is quite sweet and benefits from a little fresh lemon or limejuice. They also make one of my all-time favourite sorbets.
Content and picture © Miles Collins