Sunday, December 14, 2008

Future Food: Opuntia or Prickly Pear


This enormous Prickly Pear cactus grows in a neighbors yard. Being nearly as tall as thier lemon tree, it towers above the fence, so we get to enjoy the sunny flowers too.

The old man who used to live there died a few years back. His name was Alfio, and we would often talk and send homegrown produce back and forth over the fence. One of those items was the fruit of this cactus.

Alfio would always peel it for us, which as you can see, is no simple task and something to be appreciated in its own right. He thought it tasted best cold, and I agree. It is very much like watermelon, but not nearly as sweet.

In a few places of the world, its the fleshy leaf 'pads' that are eaten. But the plant has many other uses from dye to hallucinogenic drugs! (Woo hoo!) There is tonne of info at Wiki's Opuntia page if youd like to learn more.

6 comments:

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

The pads are sold at a few of our grocery stores. I wonder how they are eaten?

kj said...

i can't imagine "peeling" this!

Young Werther said...

Hallucinogenic drugs eh?

Going to be a very merry Christmas :)

Lavender said...

Aunt Debbi You know, I know Ive haerd how they eat them, but I cant for the life of me remember...course that 'not remembering' thing happens more and more often Dont much like that! LOL Thanks for stopping by!

KJ He was a dear soul, and introduced us to many new things. For what its worth, the way he went left us acutely aware that he didnt know what a positive impact he had on others...its amazing to me how important we are, without ever knowing it. Strange times we live in, arent they?

Young Werther Woo hoo!!! Gotta get some chemistry books out of the library ROFL!!! Tempting, it is....

areeiro said...

I had an Opuntia once, but they eventually grow so big that you have to get rid of them if you don't have a garden. They are beautiful though, nothing more cute then the little dumbo ears appearing on the top of the shoots in spring. I love the taste of the fruits too, once I tried and peeled!!!! but there are so many seeds inside that it's quite a hustle eating it.

Lavender said...

Areeiro Oh myyes, they do get enormous, so I can imagine very well one outgrowing a balcony - here they get as big as houses - just incredible!
Yes again! There are ALOT of seeds, over the years Alfio's been gone, Id forgotten that part LOL