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.