splitting prickly pears

splitting prickly pears | aneelee.wordpress.comThe food world seems to be turning its attention to pumpkin and all things fall, but in Texas… it is still very much summer. Temperatures are still in the (high) 90s and there are still peppers and okra and zucchini to deal with. Opuntia (more commonly referred to as prickly pears ‘round here) are the coveted fruit of the moment. These magenta colored fruits grow on the nopales that make their way to the breakfast table in the Southwest. This year is my first foray into the sticky little suckers.

Transporting 2 gallons (that were later divided among other opuntia-seekers) proved tricky and I had tweezers at hand for the rest of the night. Ouch! Determined to not be injured by food, I asked lots of folks, did an internet scour and finally (thank goodness!!) made my way to the market to meet Hector (aka Mexicanity) to give him his share. A pro at slicing these guys, he pulled out a ziploc bag and a utility knife from his pocket, quickly made a slice at each end, a deep score from end to end, and then pried it open. Voila! Fruit inside revealed and the plastic ziploc was suffice to keep the tiny thorns from penetrating his hand.

IMG_6569I tried this method at home and it worked like a charm. I wasn’t brave enough to handle them with a ziploc bag, so I pulled a pair of clean garden gloves (with rubber coating) from the garage and got to work. Quick shots of the cuts made to the fruit below. Have at and have fun scooping out all that yummy pulp in the center.

IMG_6567P.S. The tiny thorns did not penetrate my gloves, but they did fall all over my clothes. In the future, I’ll slice standing with a heavy apron on to make sure that I don’t defeat the method by dusting my lap off with bare hands later. 😦


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