Prickly Pear Cactus

If you want some cactus to eat and something to grow during droughts look no further than prickly pear. I’ve grown them ever since the last major drought and don’t regret it.

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Do you eat just the fruit or the pads too?

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Derby,
I eat both but the eastern prickly pear I grow is not as good as the western prickly pear for either fruit or pads. The fruit in Texas are like chicken eggs whereas my fruit are like quail eggs. The seeds in mine are hard and theirs are not. So moral of the story is I say I eat mine but it really means I juice them. I eat the western prickly pear cactus like a pear and feel like a million dollars afterwards. They are said to be anti inflammatory by many experts and they sure make me feel good. You burn the thorns off first by the way.

I had a prickly pear fruit from Mexico once and it was big as an egg like you said, but it was many years ago and I don’t remember the flavor.

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Tastes somewhat like a blan melon to me. The flavor is good but not like something I can really describe beyond that.

Edible Landscaping sells a prickly pear cactus I’m always tempted to buy. I always really enjoy the fruit when I see it at the grocery store – though the price is hard to justify. Not sure the EL one would really survived in a cold zone 6.

SMC,
The ones I grow are at least zone 4-5. The petals remind me a little of okra / green peppers and I use them in fajitas after I fry them.

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SMC, you can also grow your own by rooting a pad or a fruit.

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All right! I’m convinced. Now to post in the “What are you ordering for 2016 thread.” :smiley:

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I have hesitated to grow cactus in the yard because of the grand kids. It grows here wild , the smaller version, I can see where it would be an advantage during a drought like we had a couple of years ago.

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Mine don’t grow much during the summer because we don’t usually get rain very often from some point in May until some point in August or September. Just yesterday I was thinking that I do need to move the largest one because it’s grown to the point that it will soon be encroaching on the handicap accessible ramp I have leading up to the playground. The thorns on the prickly pear cacti that we have aren’t too bad. The thorns on the rambling roses are much, much, worse. Even some of the lemon trees have more vicious thorns. The plants that look deceptively less threatening than the prickly pears are the century plants. Those have gashed my leg or arm more than once when I’ve accidentally brushed against them.

Love the cactus flowers you have. I enjoy the red prickly pear juice in the summer, only slightly sweet, but has light refresh aroma. Put some Rum and make it into italian ice …yummy :yum: :yum:

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These cactus starts I gave to a friend in 2016 have really grown! Absolutely gorgeous what he did with them!

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Great to see someone actually using this as a vegetable! I intend to harvest nopales once my patch gets larger. Regarding the fruits, Opuntia is known to hybridize readily, so I’ve toyed with the idea of growing O ficus-indicum in a pot and trying to cross it with my O humifusa to try and get a hardier large-fruited cactus. Slim odds, but it would be great fun to try!

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I fry them and they get a little slimy like okra Cold Hardy Cactus - #22 by clarkinks. Love to eat cactus! I really love the big nopal fruit from Texas etc. Nopal fruit - $1. Another great thread Any variety/species recommendations for cactus tunas?. I know i posted this in another thread but this is a great resource http://coldhardycactus.com/. Years ago @milehighgirl gave me that link in 2012 or 2013 i think. I think specifically @jcguarneri you might be after these Opuntia/Cylindropuntia – COLDHARDYCACTUS .

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We have a lot of prickly pear volunteers on our place and a few I planted. In South Texas it is everywhere and the fruit varies a lot in taste and seed hardness. Some seed is like rock and some is reasonably soft. There are a lot of selectively bred nearly thornless ones around as well. I try to collect starts of them when I find them. I have been reading up on other edible cacti and have a few Peruvian apple cactus starts as well. D

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I think the inducum is the one that helps regulate blood sugar the best. Food and medicine! D

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Does anybody know of a prickly pear that does well in PNW? We have warm Summer days, but the nights are cold. I wouldn’t mind edible vegetation, but I would prefer a decent fruit. The local markets do not set the bar very high.

There are also spineless varieties available, which is what I grow. The wild ones grow here naturally, but are very spiney

They are very easy to grow from pads. Just lay them in dirt and they’ll root. The worst thing about prickly pear are the glochids - the tiny reddish hairs around the spines. They are made from pure evil.

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Most of them. Cold hardy cactus doesn’t even start filtering for hardyness till zone 6.

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