When can the prickly pear fruit be eaten?
The fruit of the prickly pear cactus [Opuntia spp] needs to be eaten fresh. The fruit may be harvested late summer to early fall. Fruit colors range from green to purple or red. But the darker colors indicate a less agreeable fruit flavor.
To me, prickly pear tasted closest in flavor to kiwi fruit. I have seen it described as bland, but I love kiwi, so I would not categorize prickly pear as bland either. Depending on your preparation of the fruit, you may want to add a little (very little) sugar or pair it with another fruit, such as plums, but I know I will definitely buy and eat more prickly pears!
Yes, many of the fruits can be eaten fresh. For example, the yellow fruit of the prickly pear [Opuntia spp] has the sweetest flavor of the cactus fruit's color range. It's eaten fresh. Additionally, other body parts also can be eaten. For example, the prickly pear cactus' jointed pads may be peeled and boiled, to make Mexico's popular nopalitos. The flesh of the candy barrel cactus [Ferocactus wislizeni] may be made up into sugary candies.
All or most types of Galápagos Finches do. When I was in Morocco at a souk (or market) a vendor was selling Prickly Pear fruit which he had piled in a pannier carried by a donkey. When we asked to buy he used a pocket knife to peel the spiny skins off the fruit. The flesh was juicy and sweet and a bit pippy. So to answer your question: people eat Prickly pear cacti.
Some cacti can be eaten, such as the prickly pear. However, there are a number of species of cactus that have toxic or hallucinogenic properties that can make ingestion a less than pleasant experience. Both the tender young pads as well as the fruit of the prickly pear are eaten by many people in Mexico as well as in the southwestern United States. The pads are called nopales and the fruit tunas and both are…
It depends on which cactus is being eaten. Some are poisonous while others are beneficial and highly nutritious. Prickly pear pads are a winner as long as you get the right type. I have read online that there is a poisonous strain of prickly pear that has an orange coloring in its spines. Some prickly pear has been selectively reproduced to eliminate the spines and it is used as a human and animal food staple…