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All About Prickly Pear

Nick Musica
Published Mar 15, 2021. Read time: 1 minute

Plucked from cacti paddles, the prickly pear is one fruit that’s as delicious as it is beautiful. Prickly pears resemble a pear shaped cactus, and come in a range of colors from pale green and yellow to bold magenta and deep maroon. These sweet, refreshing fruits deserve a rightful place in your kitchen’s fruit bowl!

At FruitStand, we look forward to sending you a beautiful package of these extraordinary fruits from our small specialty farms partners. Keep reading to learn all about prickly pear!

Prickly pears are the fruit of the opuntia genus of cacti. The fruits are somewhat lightbulb shaped, with a thick, leathery skin that’s similar in texture to the cactus from which it grows. Botanically known as Opuntia, these prickly cactus berries are also called tuna and sabra in some parts of the world.

Prickly pear fruit has a uniquely sweet and earthy flavor. It tastes of soft red berries with hints of watermelon and cucumber. The texture of their flesh is similar to a cross between melon and dragon fruit, and is often a deep maroon or magenta color. At their peak ripeness, prickly pears have a pleasant berry fragrance that makes for an exceptional fruit experience! 

Once you add prickly pears to your fruit routine, you’ll be adding them to just about everything! Enjoy raw prickly pear as a snack, in salads, or stir it into yogurt and granola. Concoct creative compotes, sauces, sorbets and jellies with fresh prickly pear fruit and juice. Use them with other fruits and herbs to impart color and flavor to proteins, sauces and condiments.

There are varieties of prickly pear fruit that can have green, yellow, orange, magenta or red peels. Inside, the juicy, refreshing fruit ranges in color from yellow, orange and maroon. The flesh of these fruits is so colorful that they’re also prized for making dye.

Prickly pears grow from a variety of cactus species throughout North and South America. Today they’re cultivated throughout regions of the Mediterranean, Africa and Australia. Peak season for prickly pears is in the late fall from September through December.

Prickly pears grow from a variety of cactus species throughout North and South America. Today they’re cultivated throughout regions of the Mediterranean, Africa and Australia.

Prickly pear and dragon fruit are quite the showy specialty fruits! Each known for their eye catching color and shapes, both are fruits of cactus species. Prickly pears and dragon fruits both have leathery, inedible rinds and edible seeds interspersed throughout the fruit flesh. Despite these similarities, eating prickly pear and dragon fruits are very different flavor experiences. Prickly pear has a sweeter flavor, deeply colored flesh and hard seeds. Dragon fruit seeds are much softer and smaller.

Whether a prickly pear harvest is certified organic or not will depend on the farm where it was grown. At FruitStand, we only partner with the best specialty farms for exceptional quality of produce. When each harvest is available, we'll tell you whether the fruit is considered organic or conventional.

If you’ve ever wondered where to buy prickly pear, we’ve got great news for you! FruitStand is proud to partner with small, specialty farmers to bring you exceptional quality prickly pear. To be the first to know when FruitStand is shipping prickly pear harvests, join our email newsletter!

 Still curious about prickly pear? Send us your prickly pear questions on Instagram @Fruitstandcom!

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