What to do with Prickly Pear Fruit?

Once upon a time, I was very fond of prickly pear jelly. When we lived in Nebraska, I was in hog heaven with so much prickly pear cacti around. I made use of DH’s welding gloves and a pair of tongs to pick them and harvested enough to make a batch of the good stuff. It was scrumptious on my fluffy biscuits those cold mornings.

Many years ago when DS1 met and married my daughter-in-law, we’d be on our way to or from some event when we’d pass by a house with a patch of prickly pear by the driveway. I would exclaim over them and wish I had some at my place. One Mother’s Day (or close to it) a box arrived from a nursery. My DIL had given me a couple of pairs of leather work gloves saying I might need them. When I opened the box, I found out why. There was an assortment of cactus pads with instructions on how to plant them. I had to buy some sand before I could get started so the box with its precious cargo had to be put to one side for a few days.

The bed was prepared and the gloves were pulled on. They weren’t the heavy leather I’d worn before and some of the spines found their way through, anyway. The cactus was planted and all I had to do was wait. And wait. And wait.

Finally, this year they decided to bloom.

Prickly Pear in Bloom

This shows a spent blossom, a bud, a bloom and the immature fruit. You can’t get more complete than that! I thought it was unique I was able to shoot every stage in one frame. Pat me on the back!

These pictures were taken yesterday when I was finally brave enough to try the fruit.

Picking the Prickly Pear Fruit

The gloves long gone, I used a pair of tongs and a great deal of caution to pick the “pear”.

This shows where the pear used to be:

Missing a Prickly Pear

I took the pear in the house and put it on a plate:

Prickly Pear

Using the tongs again, I split the pear in two. I couldn’t show that step because DD wasn’t here to shoot it for me.

Prickly Pear Cut in Two

I knew from experience the prickly pear had lots of seeds but I wasn’t quite prepared for the number in this one:

A Scoop of Prickly Pear Pulp

Here’s where it ended up—in the garbage container:

Prickly Pear in the Garbage Container

Now, for the question of the moment. WHAT on earth can I do with all these prickly pears I have? Counting that one, my plants gave birth to 18 this year. I have tried to give them away twice but I have no takers. I tell the cooked foodists about the wonderful jelly they could make but it doesn’t help. I don’t make jelly any more. I am, after all, a raw vegan who eats raw food. As for all the caution—I still found a little prickle in my hand today.

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