Can You Eat Purple Prickly Pear Fruit ? (Find Out The Truth)

Purple Prickly Pear fruit is one of the main features of the Purple Prickly Pear cactus. Purple Prickly Pear  cactus contain fleshy and flat pads

Furthermore, you could see how the spiky spines have grown on those pads. They produce flowers in yellow as well. 

This article is about the Purple Prickly Pear fruit. If you are curious about educating yourself on this,  this article would be useful for you. 

First of all, when you obtain the Purple Prickly Pear fruits, ensure that you protect yourself first by wearing leather or rubber gloves. 

When you pick the fruits , you can place them in a paper bag or in some other container. That will avoid any glochids releasing. So buckle up and get ready to learn more on this subject. 

Purple Prickly Pear Fruit

Can you eat prickly pear fruit?

Purple Prickly Pear pads and the fruit are edible. In fact, Purple Prickly Pear is a flexible food source

Having said that, you need to practice the below steps when harvesting them. Purple Prickly Pear fruit has been used to fulfill the dietary requirements of the Mexicans and the Americans who have lived for so many years. 

In fact, Purple Prickly Pear fruit is an exotic gourmet and healthy food source in some parts of the USA.

There are three different edible sections of the Purple Prickly Pear cactus. They are the pads of the cactus which you could call the nopal. 

You could consume them as a vegetable. In addition to that you can use the Purple Prickly Pear flower petals as an ingredient in your salads. You can also consume Purple Prickly Pear as a fruit.

What part of the prickly pear is edible?

You can eat the Purple Prickly Pear pad (nopal)  fruit.

Prickly pear pads (Nopales).

As mentioned in the beginning of the article, you can eat the Purple Prickly Pear pads as a vegetable type. They are thick and fleshy. 

Many Mexican people use them as a staple food item. They  tend to have a flavor similar to green beans. When you compare the texture of them, it resembles the texture of okra. 

Purple Prickly Pear pads could be spotted and sold  cut in strips, cubes. Further chances are that you could spot them being sold in bags also to make it more convenient for the consumers.

If you want to harvest the pads, you need to wear thick gloves or a long pair of tongs. Unless the spines could be irritating for you if they poke in your skin.  

When you want to obtain the pads of the Purple Prickly Pear for consumption, you should select young stems which tend to have the same size of the mature plants, and which have a thickness of half an inch.

Ideally,  They need to be bright green colored and firm. 

Best time to harvest these would be the early spring so that they will have a great flavor. More importantly they will have fewer spines as well. 

If you got thick pads, they would have a thicker sap and chances are that you will find an unpleasant flavor in those.

When you snip off the nopales, you should leave an inch of stem behind for it so that it can start sprouting again. You may twist them off instead of cutting as then it will be less stressful and traumatizing for the plants. 

When you harvest the nopales you need to place them in a large plastic container or wrap them with a newspaper.

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Prickly Pear fruit

Purple Prickly Pear fruit would be oval shaped. You could spot them forming in yellow green to deep magenta colors. 

The sweetness of the Purple Prickly Pear fruit may vary depending on the ripeness. If we consider the yellow green fruits , they will have a less sweet flavor. 

On the other hand, if we consider the deep red to purple Prickly Pear fruits, they will have a greater sweet flavor than the aforesaid.

They are the most ripe fruits.  Many Mexicans tend to eat the yellow-colored fruits despite the less sweetness they have.  

Purple Prickly Pear fruit have outer skin and inner flesh also. You could find the glochids in the outer skin. On the other hand, inner flesh could be used for juicy pulp with edible seeds. 

Some opt to make the juice without the seeds also. When you harvest the Purple Prickly Pear fruit, you need to practice the aforesaid precautionary  methods.

Purple Prickly Pear Fruit

How to prepare the Purple Prickly Pear fruit

You have so many ways of preparing  the Purple Prickly Pear fruits. 

  1. First you may carefully burn the fruit while providing an open flame.

To provide an open flame, you may use a  blow torch, lighter, gas stovetop or a candle. Usually, the glochids will burn off easily.  

You can peel the fruit without burning it too. Chances are that the fruit can become slippery when you expose them to heat. Hence use the tongs firmly and hold onto the fruits firmly.

 You should burn each spot so that no new embers will form on the glochid beds or on the fruits. When you burn them, you can peel the fruit. Snip off the fruits at both ends.  

Next, make slits from both bottom and from the top part of the fruit. Ideally the cuts should be made where it resembles a shape of I.

Finally, you can pull the skin off from the fruit and it will give a dethroned fruit at the end.

  1. If you need to obtain the juice, you may  put the fruit in the freezer overnight

This is something very easy  which you could do here. When the fruits are frozen., you can thaw them in a lined colander in a pot. 

You may use a pillowcase or an old t-shirt between the fruit and the colander as the liner.

When the fruits thaw, you will see how they release the juice and how they strain into the other container. When this takes place, it will release the thorns, skin pulp and the seeds also.

  1. Beside the aforesaid option, you can place the fruit into a canning distiller as well

The steam in the distiller will release the juice from the fruit which has  obstructed the juice catching bowl from above.

The bowl is in contact with a tube so that it can dispense the juice into jars. Further it will remove the fruit skins, seeds and glochids as well.  

How do you eat purple prickly pear?

You can eat the Purple Prickly Pear fruit raw if you wish to do so

However, ensure that you remove the skin when you eat them raw. Further, many people use Purple Prickly Pear fruit to produce jellies, candies, and some other sweet types as well. Additionally, many people consume them as a snack too. 

To eat them, you need to first remove the spines they have as explained in the above.  However, if you purchase them from the supermarket, it is very likely that the spines would have been removed. 

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However, I encourage you to still be cautious when handling them as chances are that there could be one or two spines remaining on them. 

Do not ever bite them with thorns as it would be a terrible experience to have them stuck in your mouth.

Despite the fact that the Purple Prickly Pear fruit skin is edible, I recommend you get rid of the skin as then you are sure that you are not eating the spines. 

After that you need to cut the  bottom parts of the Purple Prickly Pear. Next you can slice the fruit as you desire. However, I recommend doing it lengthwise about 1/8th to ¼ of an inch in depth.

Then, it will be easy for you to peel off the skin .  You may use the Purple Prickly Pear fruit skin for compost or throw them away if you wish.  

Finally, you can slice up the fruit. Trust now you are clear on how to eat them properly. keep in mind that many Mexican people add Purple Prickly Pear fruit for many of their appetizers, soups, salads, drinks, jelly and for jams as well. 

Purple Prickly Pear Fruit

What does prickly pear fruit taste like?

Generally, they have a mild sweet taste. However, the sweetness could vary depending on the  Prickly Pear variety and on the ripeness.

Once you take the Purple Prickly Pear fruit bite, you will feel a very hardy crunchy seed taste.  

You could either eat them or spit them. However, if you have used them in jams, it would just strain them. They will taste magnificent if you use them in a smoothie. 

Purple Prickly Pear fruit texture tends to take the texture of a mix of kiwi, pear and watermelon. So many people find a nice, pleasant flavor in them. 

On the other hand, there are some people who find the flavor of the Purple Prickly Pear fruit as a cross between the watermelon and classic bubble gum. 

How many prickly pears can I eat a day?

You should not eat more than two Purple Prickly Pear  in one session per day

However, I recommend you drink plenty of water when you eat these. Despite how tasty Purple Prickly Pear is, you should control yourself without being greedy. You can eat Purple Prickly Pear moderately. 

It will keep you hydrated. Two Purple Prickly Pear cacti have about 8g of fiber. Fiber is something which is crucial for digestive health. 

Not only that but also, it is crucial to reduce the risk of heart disease , cancers and most importantly diabetes as well. 

You need  to drink a lot of water when you consume these fruits since they contain fibers. Only then it will be possible to digest. 

How long does prickly pear last in the fridge?

You can keep them in the refrigerator for about 5 days. If you keep them in a freezer, you can keep them in a sealed container for up to one year.

Are prickly pears poisonous?

Prickly Pears are not poisonous. As aforesaid, you can consume Prickly Pears pads as a vegetable type once you remove the spines

Prickly Pears have so many health benefits. To briefly tell them, they will act as a vitamin source. 

Besides, they would be useful as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron amino acids sources as well. Not only that they contain fiber, carotenoids, and antioxidants too. 

Studies have shown that Prickly Pears fruits are effective in lowering cardiovascular diseases such as obesity. 

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Additionally,  Prickly Pears are productive in lowering cholesterol levels. It further helps to prevent hangovers. Last but not least, Prickly Pears are helpful in protecting you against type 2 debates as well. 

Having said that, there should be more studies and research  that those relevant  experts need to conduct.

Possible side effects

If you are including Prickly Pears in your meals for the first time, you need to be careful.

Chances are that you may suffer from side effects such as nausea, mild diarrhea, and increased stool volume. 

Besides, you may also come across  increased stool frequency, headaches, and fullness of the stomach too. Hence best would be refrain  from eating the Prickly Pears if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. 

Further, do not consume them if you are expecting to undergo an operation soon also. If you wish you can go for medical advice if you want to add these into your dietary requirements.

Are all prickly pears edible?

You can eat prickly pears. Having said that, all of them would not be tasty and delicious. Some Prickly Pears fruits may comprise plenty of seeds and spines. 

The Prickly Pears which you can purchase at the supermarkets are properly prepared and packaged and you can consume all of them.

Purple Prickly Pear Fruit

Is Prickly Pear expensive?

Prickly Pears are expensive. If we consider one ton of Prickly Pears, it will produce about one liter of a precious oil type. 

They are expensive due to the high components they have in vitamin E, A, C, and omega 6 , magnesium . Prickly pear seed oil is a very expensive beauty oil type as well.

They are expensive because of the unique way of extraction. Further, the enormous number of seeds it needs to have to make one ounce of soil is also another factor as to why they are so expensive. 

Prickly Pears seed oil is further renowned as an oil type which has anti-aging properties also. Hence it is expensive too.

Can you get seeds from Purple prickly pear fruit?

You can obtain the seeds from a ripened Prickly Pears fruit.

However, whenever you are interacting with the plants, ensure that you are wearing gloves and deal with the plants with more caution. 

Unless the sharp spines may harm you and cause painful irritation. Besides, you need to wash the seeds to get rid of all the pulp and make them dry while keeping them on a paper towel in a warmer place.

Keep them in a warmer place for about two weeks’ time so that they can be entirely dry. 

Additionally keep in mind that the Prickly Pears cactus seeds need to be ripen for a couple of years before they start germinating. 

Further when storing, store them in an airtight container and leave it in a cooler, darker place. Once the spring season comes, you can plant them.


As you may understand, Prickly Pears fruits are such delicious fruit types despite the vicious looks they have from outside. 

However, before you get your hands on this, as mentioned in the article you need to protect yourself by wearing gloves so that the spines will not injure you. 

Further ensure that you prepare it well before consuming too. If you are trying this for the first time , you can start consuming them in small amounts at first so that you can see if there are any allergy reactions.

Credit to : In The Kitchen With Matt
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About author

I’m Dr. Chamika, As a hobby love talking about plants and showing you that taking care of indoor plants. My website is knowledge I’ve learned over the years and continue to learn about growing succulents. If you’re a succulent lover, then you have come to the correct place.