While shopping at the new supermarket in my neighborhood last week I saw an interesting-looking type of fruit that I had never seen before. The paper sign attached to the fruit container stated that the name of the fruit is cactus pear or prickly pear. It also stated that the fruit is grown extensively in Mexico and in the Southwestern United States.
The unique appearance and interesting name of this fruit intrigued me so I decided to purchase one cactus pear. After tasting the fruit I thought that other people might like to know about this fruit.
Most of the cactus pears on display at my local supermarket were roughly the same size. This morning I measured the cactus pear I purchased and its dimensions are 3″ length and 2″ width.
Actually, the main reason why I decided to purchase a cactus pear was because of its unusual appearance. The cactus pear that I recently purchased is sitting on my desk, a few inches away from where I’m typing.
Approximately 1/4 of the piece of fruit is removed. That is the part that I ate.
The cactus pear that I have in front of me features a maroonish-dark violet outer skin that is studded all over with little greenish-gold spiny nubs that make it look like a tiny cactus of sorts. The shape of the fruit reminds me of a football except for the fact that one end is mostly flat.
The inner flesh of the cactus pear is striking in color. The flesh is a vivid and glossy, dark reddish-purple hue. As I type this I’m looking at the exposed inner flesh of the cactus pear sitting in front of me. For some reason, I find the color of the fruit’s flesh to be unappealing. Keep in mind that the outer skin has to be removed before the fruit can be eaten.
Describing the texture of the cactus pear is not necessarily an easy thing to do. With almost every bite of this fruit that I’ve tried to take, only tiny bits of flesh are big enough to be chewable. Also in almost every bite I’ve taken have been small dark seeds that I’ve tried to remove from the mouth right away because they could easily be swallowed.
A few seconds ago, I picked up the cactus pear to take a bite and a good amount of bright reddish-purple juice just cascaded out of the hole from where I took a bite.
The overall texture of this fruit is soft and very juicy but I did not find the texture to be appetizing.
The retail price that I paid for one cactus pear at a Hartford, Connecticut supermarket was $1.09.
Taste / Flavor
When it comes to flavor I was not particularly impressed with the cactus pear. Being fair however, my displeasure with the seeds and overall texture may have clouded my opinion slightly.
To me, the cactus pear tastes like a combination of pear, watermelon, beets and berries. It’s not that the fruit tastes bad, but my tastebuds could not get excited about the cactus pear.
On a flavor scale of one through ten I would assign cactus pears a rating of 5.25.
If there’s anything I don’t like doing, it’s having to write anything negative. You might find that cactus pears are the tastiest fruits you’ve ever eaten, but to me their flavor and texture were somewhat underwhelming.
This fruit definitely is interesting to look at and it is a good conversation-starter. If you’re looking for a different type of fruit, cactus pears certainly do fit the bill. If you don’t mind dealing with an abundance of seeds, you might really like this fruit.
Personal experience with purchasing and eating a cactus pear