Recipes // Beverages // Prickly Pear Fruit (Tunas)

Prickly Pear Fruit (Tunas)


By Ivy Stark

The prickly pear fruits (fruit of the Opuntia cactus), referred to as Tunas in Spanish are eaten in Mexico as well as the in the Mediterranean InItaly they are called fichi d'india. The most common varieties eaten are the yellow, white, and purple pears. The pears with the purple interior are the sweetest. The fruit has numerous tiny spines and must be carefully peeled before eating. They can be eaten chilled or room temperature. It is customary in Italy to present the fruit in a bowl of cold water. The prickly pear fruit is also the base for prickly pear jams and jellies as well as Mexican "cactus candy".

How to peel a Prickly Pear
  1. Place the fruit in a large bowl of chilled water. This helps to wash away some of the spines. Use the following procedure to peel the fruit:
  2. 2. Fold 2 or 3 sheets of paper towels together.
  3. 3. Handling the pear on each end, lift if from the water and place the pear on the towels.
  4. 4. Keep the towels wrapped around most of the pear. Use a small sharp knife and make a slice along one side of the length of the pear cutting just through the skin.
  5. 5. Now use the towels to protect your hands and peel the skin from the pear.
For the Agua Fresca:
  • 4 prickly pear, peeled
  • 2 celery ribs, peeled
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Juice of 2 limes plus slices for garnish
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground canela
  1. Puree pears and celery in a blender. Pass through a fine sieve. Puree pear-celery liquid, sugar, lime juice, canela, and ice in a blender 1 minute. Pour into glasses, garnish with lime slices.
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