Hello, amigos! Mexico is one of the best places to find all kinds of delicious fruits and fresh veggies. And even though there’s a lot of fruits I love, I really need to tell you about one of my all-time favorites- the prickly pear. If you’ve never had one, you’ve been missing out on a juicy, sweet, marvelous treat.

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How to eat prickly pears

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You must think I am obssessed with the cactus! I had already posted about how to make a cactus salad and a cactus smoothie. Then, I had cactus as a side dish to the pozole on Mexican Independence Day. And finally, here I am, insisting you eat a cactus fruit! I have to be crazy, right? Wrong. Hear me out!

3 Good Reasons To Love Prickly Pears


First of all, prickly pears are the sweetest, juiciest, most delicious fruit there is. I’m serious! I’m pretty sure the nopal cactus has thorns only to protect this precious little fruit. It’s so sweet, it could be coated with sugar. In fact, there’s prickly pear candy and jelly, as you can see in this post from My Desert Love.


Second of all, prickly pears are healthy. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Eating cactus and prickly pears is great for diabetes patients because they help stabilize glucose. Also, they are delicious. Did I already mention that?


Finally, you should know I come from a place that has a cactus and prickly pears as a part of its national symbols. The Mexican flag has an ancient Aztec symbol in the center- an eagle standing on a cactus and holding a snake. If you look closely, you’ll see the cactus has prickly pear fruit on it. How about that?

Mexican symbol

In Mexico, prickly pears are called “tunas“, and summer is when they are in season. Here in Central Mexico, you can find them at any market or supermarket from May to September. Better yet, you can drive out to the nopal cactus fields and buy a whole crate of sweet, ripe tunas for a bargain price. You’ll be able to sample freshly cut fruit, with the ancient pyramids of Teotihuacan in the background. It doesn’t get any more picturesque that that!

tunas teotihuacan
Source: http://abrachito.tumblr.com/

Once you get home, you’ll want to savor these little gems. Did you know they go perfectly well with tequila? There is nothing like having a glass of fine tequila with a platter of tunas on the side. That’s the sweet life!

There are several different colors of prickly pears. They’re all juicy and sweet, they just have slightly different flavors. My favorite is the tuna blanca, or white prickly pear. Those are grown in the area where I live, and they are not really white but honeydew green. Yum!

colored prickly pears
Source: http://teotihuacanmx.blogspot.mx/

However, be careful! You don’t want to have a nasty experience and get thorns all over your precious fingers. So, before you dive into that tuna crate, follow these instructions.

How to eat prickly pears and love it

How To Eat Prickly Pears

First thing you should know is you can’t just touch a prickly pear. When you buy them, they look harmless. No thorns, right? Wrong! Prickly pear skin has teeny tiny little blisters that are really bothersome if they get stuck on your fingers. But don’t worry! You’ll be fine if you just don’t grab them with the palm of your hand. Are you ready? Let’s do this!

1. Take the prickly pear and hold it at both ends.

How To Eat A Prickly Pear And Love It

2. Slice one end of the prickly pear, but don’t cut it all the way off.

How To Eat A Prickly Pear And Love It

3. Slice the other end the same way.

How To Eat A Prickly Pear And Love It

4. Cut the skin lengthwise.

How To Eat A Prickly Pear And Love It 

5. Carefully, pull the skin off.

How To Eat A Prickly Pear And Love It

6. Put the prickly pears in a platter and they’re ready to eat!

How To Eat A Prickly Pear And Love It

You can see in the pictures I’m peeling the prickly pears with my bare hands. That’s because I’ve been peeling them for a long time and one or two little blisters don’t bother me. I just tweeze them right out! But if you have never peeled prickly pears before, I suggest you wear gloves. Regular plastic gloves should be fine.

How To Eat A Prickly Pear And Love It

I forgot to tell you that prickly pears are full of little, hard seeds. Don’t worry! There’s no chance you’ll have a cactus growing in your stomach if you eat them. You can spit them out if you want, or you could juice the prickly pears and filter out the seeds. Or you could also not be picky and eat them. The seeds are full of fiber and that’s partly the reason why prickly pears are so nutritious. Seeds are good for you!

Now, if my baby girl can eat a prickly pear with seeds and all, I’m sure you can too!

How To Eat A Prickly Pear And Love It

So, are you ready to eat a prickly pear? Do it! You’ll love it.

Have you ever had a prickly pear? Would you like to? Leave a comment! 

Check out this post about a whole other prickly pear experience- Picking Tunas by Surviving Mexico

42 thoughts on “How To Eat A Prickly Pear And Love It

  1. Hi dear, I have nominated you for the sunshine award 🙂 This was actually a few days ago but with sickness and work I forgot to write everyone I had nominated :/ Have fun with it and read more on my blog 🙂 Happy Sunday! :*

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I live near San antonio and I haven’t been gutsy enough to try a prickly pear. I’m going to make it a point to try some soon. I am going to try the jelly too. Thanks for this tutorial. It takes away some of the unknown.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’ve always wondered how to eat these – the market by me always has such great deals on prickly pears, but I could never figure out how to prepare or eat them. I’m so excited to introduce them to my little guy!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I never noticed the cactus on the Mexican flag – I have truly learned something new. I have also never eaten a prickly pear, but after seeing this I am itching to try one. Thanks for this! I have something new to try over the weekend 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  5. First of all, I never knew you can eat cactus! Secondly, I’ve never had such a pear before. I’m not even sure I can find it here, in my country. o.o But I am daring enough to wanna try it. Hehe.

    Anyway, I learned some new things from here, yay!
    Oh, and by the way, how does cactus taste like?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hmmm, what does cactus taste like? Well, it’s a vegetable. Maybe it tastes a little bit like eggplant..or green beans. I’ve been asked that question before and I’ve been thinking- maybe I need to write a post about that!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Prickly pears are a huge pest in Australia. They are a terrible weed. That said, I would never have thought they have fruit you can eat. I have learnt something. But I might save eating them for a trip to Mexico. Are they a seasonal fruit?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, they’re seasonal. They’re only available from May to September. I didn’t know prickly pears were so terrible in Australia! Prickly pears are the fruit of the nopal cactus, so this means there’s nopal cactus in Australia, is that right?


  7. Congrats on all these amazing comments!! I applaud you for all your hard work – whereas I’ve been taking a break from mine – so thanks so much for the ping to my ole “Prickly Pear Passion” post. Love this post with the images. I love the color contrast you chose for the backdrop. So perfect to compliment the prickly pear. This is a totally necessary, because it is such an overlooked delicacy and it is truly abundant in the southwest U.S. too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much for coming by, Vi. I hadn’t heard from you in a while! To tell you the truth, I am also on a little blogging vacation, I’m not writing much, but I’m doing a lot of blog promo, and it’s paid off 🙂 Looking forward to your next post!


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