Prickly Pear Uses
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: No Name Given
Posted on: January 23, 2002

What is prickly pear used for?

There are many species of pricky pear belonging to the genus, Opuntia, found throughout North America. Several Mexican species are commercial fruits seen in speciality food stores. The variety we carry, Opuntia humifusa, is the hardiest cactus of the edible species, hardy in dry, sandy areas in southwestern Ontario and perhaps other parts of Canada. It is rated hardy to zone 5, but there is evidence that it can tolerate zones down to 4 if the soil is right and the drainage is excellent.

The edible fruits, known as "pears", are brightly coloured yellow, orange or red and are delicious with a pleasant, somewhat acidic taste. They have a tough skin and hard seeds which must be removed, but the flesh can be eaten fresh or dried.

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