Our this week’s bio fruit and veggie crate had prickly pear cactus fruit as a novelty. I have never bought prickly pears myself but they are quite popular in my city due to a local fast food chain that offers super delicious prickly pear juice and also really great shakes.
Opuntia ficus-indica (the scientific name) is native to Americas but they are also growing in Australia, Northen Africa, Malta, South Africa, Middle East, and Spain. Here in Gran Canaria they grow wild and are a common sight.
Depending on the variety and ripeness, the fruit varies in colors. It may be yellow, orange, pink, red or light green. The prickly pears are used to make juices, jellies, jams, alcoholic beverages and even candies.
Prickly pears are also called “tuna”, “cactus pear”, “barbary fig” or “Indian fig opuntia” and they have a lot of health benefits:
- immune system booster
- good for bones and teeth
- can regulate your digestive process
- can help to regulate cholesterol levels
- helps to keep blood sugar stable
- rich in antioxidants
- can be used to remedy hangovers
- can eliminate the swelling of bug bites
- it’s used to fight viral infections
So the first thing that came into my mind when I saw the prickly pear box was a smoothie!
Prickly Pear & Strawberry Smoothie
- 4-5 small prickly pears
- a little bit of apple juice
- honey (optional)
- Wash & peel the cactus fruit. Be really careful as they have tiny, barbed spines that are hard to see.
- Add all the fruit, apple juice, and honey to the blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- Cactus fruit has a lot of edible seeds but they are really hard. So if your blender has not blended the seeds, you might want to strain your smoothie through a fine mesh strainer.