Ficus Indica, commonly known as Indian Fig, Prickly Pear, or Cactus Fruit, is a species of cactus native to the Americas. This fast-growing, drought-tolerant plant produces edible fruit and is known for its various uses and health benefits.
The first indicator of a fully ripe prickly pear is the absence of green on the fruit. The pears should be either fully red or fully yellow. Another sign to look out for would be to check the spines or glochids. Fully ripe prickly pears will have their spines fall off naturally, so check if there still spines firmly attached to the fruit.
The next part is tricky and should only be done if you have leather gloves on. Give the fruit a gentle squeeze. They should feel firm but have a bit of give to them. Very hard prickly pears are still underripe.
There are still several organizations that are actively pushing for the cultivation of prickly pears, and if you need more information you can contact the Texas Cactus Council or get in touch with Texas A&M for more information.
Prickly pears that are sold in markets will usually have their glochids or spikes removed. If picking your own, be sure to wear leather gloves to protect your hands from the glochids. The safest way to remove them would be to take a pair of tongs, and hold the prickly pear fruits above the stove and burn off the glochids.
True to its name, the prickly pear fruit has the same culinary uses as actual pears. The fruit can be made into syrups (think maple syrup style) and glazes for grilled meat. It is also good for jams and jellies. It is also great consumed raw or added to fruit and green salads, as well as added to juices and smoothies.
Did the gumdrops in your pictures really turn out that color with only 1/2 cup of prickly pear juice My juice is that color, but after mixing it with the applesauce, it turned out a rich amber. I wondered if maybe I should put in more juice next time.
How do these taste I was very excited to find this but for some reason reading the apple sauce on the ingredient list kinda made myself turn over in my future grave.Does it taste like apples or taste like the cactus fruitThanks!
I hope you still check this post. I have a lot of prickly pear concentrate juice. Can I use that for this recipe. It does not have any pureed fruit in it. Just juice.I would love to make these and add it to my Christmas baskets!
In our house, the most common ways we consume cactus fruit is fresh or agua fresca de tuna roja or frozen cactus fruit margaritas. I much prefer the taste of the red fruit over the green, as the red is much sweeter. The juice can even be turned into prickly pear sorbet!
When you buy cactus fruit at the grocery store, most of the time the spines have already been cleaned off and the fruit is safe to touch with your hands. However, sometimes there are very small spines that are difficult to see with the naked eye, so I suggest that you use tongs or a plastic bag to handle them in the store rather than your bare hands.
There are also several uses of red cactus fruit in traditional Mexican gastronomy. One of those is a fermented alcoholic beverage called colonche, which is a sweet, red and effervescent drink made from the boiled and fermented juice of the red prickly pear. Because of the natural high sugar content of red cactus fruit, it ferments quickly. Another type of alcoholic beverage made with red prickly pears is called chiquito, which is liquor made with the cactus fruit and cinnamon.
miRNAs are a class of small non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression. They are involved in the control of many developmental processes, including fruit development. The increasing amount of information on miRNAs, on their expression, abundance, and conservation between various species, provides a new opportunity to study the role of miRNAs in non-model plant species. In this work, we used a combination of Northern blot and tissue print hybridization analysis to identify conserved miRNAs expressed during prickly pear cactus (Opuntia ficus indica) fruit development. Comparative profiling detected the expression of 34 miRNAs, which were clustered in three different groups that were associated with the different phases of fruit development. Variation in the level of miRNA expression was observed. Gradual expression increase of several miRNAs was observed during fruit development, including miR164. miR164 was selected for stem-loop RT-PCR and for a detailed spatial-temporal expression analysis. At early floral stages, miR164 was mainly localized in meristematic tissues, boundaries and fusion zones, while it was more homogenously expressed in fruit tissues. Our results provide the first evidence of miRNA expression in the prickly pear cactus and provide the basis for future research on miRNAs in Opuntia. Moreover, our analyses suggest that miR164 plays different roles during prickly pear cactus fruit development.
Prickly pear benefits your health in multiple ways. From treating a hangover to aiding in weight loss, the benefits of prickly pear are numerous. This fruit from the cactus family is delicious and nutrient-rich. Many people avoid it because of its intimidating appearance, but it positively impacts your overall health.
In this article, we will discuss the history of prickly pear, its nutritional profile, its benefits for skin, hair, and health, how to add it to your diet, and its potential side effects. Keep reading!
Prickly pear is a fruit that grows on the leaves of the Nopales cacti, belonging to the genus Opuntia, its scientific name is Opuntia ficus-indica. It is also referred to as Nagfani in Hindi, Nagajemudu in Telugu, Kallimullpazham in Malayalam, and Dindla in Gujarati. The younger plants are edible and often part of the Mexican diet. The other edible parts of the prickly pear cactus are the flowers, stems, and the leaves.
Being a cactus, the prickly pear plant can survive in dry weather conditions. It is said to have originated in Mexico and the northern countries of South America, which fall under the arid to semi-arid climate categories. In these regions, it has been a diet staple for thousands of years. It was later found to be used in the Middle East and Indian subcontinent as well.
With increasing popularity, prickly pear cacti are now cultivated in Europe and Australia too. The fruit is relished not just for its flavor but also for its health benefits. Its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-aging properties have made this thorny fruit popular.
Prickly pear is rich in many nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. These make it a wonderful and healthy addition to your diet for both culinary and medicinal purposes. Their low cholesterol and saturated fat content make them a suitable option for many people across the globe who are suffering from obesity and heart disease. These versatile fruits are not a hassle to cut or prepare. If you have access to them, go ahead and purchase a few.
When we talk about the nutritional value of prickly pear, it contains magnesium, amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins C and B, beta-carotene, iron, calcium, potassium, and many other nutrients. Having one cup of this fruit can be a good source of a considerable part of the daily intake value of many vitamins and minerals. Bear in mind that the calcium found in this traditional desert plant may not be present in its biologically active form. It is present in the form of a non-absorbable complex (calcium oxalate).
The amount of vitamin C present in one cup of prickly pear constitutes 35% of our daily value intake, whereas magnesium constitutes 32% of the DV. It is also rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are the healthy forms of fats that possess anti-inflammatory properties.
Now that we have a brief understanding of the nutrients found in prickly pear cactus fruit, let us look at what the presence of these nutrients implies. The many health benefits of this fruit are discussed below.
Obesity is a global epidemic and needs to be managed at the earliest. Instead of resorting to extreme measures like harmful medications or surgery, a simple solution to this problem could be consuming plenty of dietary fiber. Prickly pear fruit contains fiber that will make you feel full for longer and reduce hunger pangs. It also helps in the elimination of dietary fat by binding it and excreting it from the system. As the intestines do not get a chance to absorb the dietary fat, this fruit effectively helps in weight control and even weight loss (2).
Continuing on the weight loss tangent, prickly pear can also help reduce the cholesterol levels in the blood. Its fiber (pectin) content can be held responsible for this as it helps eliminate LDL cholesterol from the body. Experiments have shown that prickly pear can reduce both plasma levels and hepatic levels of cholesterol (3, 4). Also, certain phytosterols found in cactus seed oil can alter cholesterol metabolism in a positive way (5). Hyperlipidemia, the condition of high cholesterol levels, can also be brought under control.
The essential micronutrients found in prickly pear are vitamin C, folate, vitamin B6, riboflavin, niacin, iron, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Of these, the highest % DV is held by vitamin C and magnesium (6). Consumption of one cup of this fruit on a regular basis can provide your body with these micronutrients that are required for various physiological and metabolic processes.
The flavonoid compounds in prickly pear lower the risk of breast, prostate, stomach, pancreatic, ovarian, cervical, and lung cancers. They were shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells in the lab and mice models. They also caused the death of these cancerous cells at higher concentrations (7). These compounds also have the ability to remove free radicals and improve the activities of pro-oxidant enzymes. 59ce067264