Prickly pear can also be used in cooking. Below are links to recipes using prickly pear including sorbet, mojitos, shrimp, and fruit salad.
Prickly pears peak season is during the late summer through early winter, September to December in the northern hemisphere. Look for pears that are small, smooth, unblemished, deep-colored and firm, not hard. Prickly pears are ripe for about a week.
The prickly pear’s skin is covered with stiff spines that must be removed carefully with pliers to prevent injury. Once the skin is removed you may also notice small hairs on the fruit, you can remove these hairs by passing the fruit through an open flame. Additionally, make sure the seeds are removed also or they will harden during the cooking process.
The prickly pear can be served whole, cubed, or thin sliced in fruit cups or salads or in punches, cocktails and as a flavoring for sorbets and yogurts.
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