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Prickly pear and cactus paddles?

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Prickly pear and cactus paddles?

Carb Lover | Oct 7, 2005 04:07 PM

One of the major benefits of living close to my in-laws is pillaging fruits from their backyard all year long. After Wendy's prickly pear post (see link), I wanted to make petradish's sorbet. As I was reaching for some at my farmer's market (3/$1), my husband discouraged me, reminding me that his parents have two HUGE pear cacti that are probably in full bloom. From the picture below, he was certainly right! Between the two, there must be hundreds of fruit right now. Really a sight to behold!

These are a different color from petradish's. The rind is a deep orange w/ tinges of green and tan, while the flesh is a fiery orange-red w/ lots and lots of hard black seeds, which make them too cumbersome to eat as is. The flesh has a mellow fragrance and tastes like an integration of kiwi, guava, and pear. Very unique and I imagine quite delicious in a sorbet or sauce. Any other ideas for use of the fruit?

It didn't even occur to me that I could use the cactus paddles themselves, but I love salads at Mexican restaurants that include nopales. Are these the same variety? Would the ones from these cacti work? How do I even begin to harvest and prepare these for human consumption w/o harming the plant? Are the small, young paddles better than the large? Thanks for any help.

Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

Image: http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y45/...

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