12 Prickly Pears Varieties

These are fresh pieces of prickly pear ready for harvest.

It is claimed that prickly pear cactus, also known as opuntia, nopal, and other similar names, can help with diabetes, hangovers, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and other things. Also praised for its anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, it is also used in traditional Chinese medicine.

As mentioned above, prickly pear cactus helps reduce blood sugar levels in patients who have type 2 diabetes, according to some preliminary evidence. A small amount of research has also suggested that the extract from prickly pear cactus may help to alleviate the symptoms of a hangover, mainly as a result of the anti-inflammatory properties of the plant.

Although it is too soon to declare this fruit as a superfood, it can be included in a balanced diet as a supplement. It contains a high concentration of carotenoids as well as fiber and antioxidants. It is true that this fruit is widely cultivated throughout the world, mainly found in Latin America.

The fruit, leaves, stems, and flowers are the only parts of the plant that are edible. The prickly pear cactus can be boiled or grilled to consume in its entirety. It is also used in the production of jams as well as juices.

If you’re interested in trying this fruit, it’s a good idea to start out slowly. Abdominal fullness, diarrhea, increased stool frequency, and nausea are some of the side effects that some people experience.

12 Edible Prickly Pear Varieties

Is it possible to eat prickly pears? What is the flavor of these things? Here is a list of prickly pears, as well as information on things to expect in terms of flavor.

‘Opuntia’ is the scientific classification for the prickly pear, and there is a variety of different species to choose from. They produce a delicious edible fruit known as Prickly Pears, which are widely available. There are also varieties that are not native, and distinguishing between them can be difficult at times.

The leaves produced range in shape from paddle-like leaves to cylindrical-shaped leaves, and these produce the edible pears that we know and love. They produce flowers in a variety of vibrant colors ranging from beautiful reds to vibrant yellows.

Most subspecies of cactus can survive in cooler climates than other cactus species, with the exception of some.

The size and shape of the various varieties vary, with some reaching almost the size of a tree while others are more suitable for use as a groundcover.

They grow best in zones 7 to 10 outdoors, but when grown in a pot, they can be planted almost anywhere and brought inside during inclement weather.

There are many different kinds of prickly pears:

1. Indian Fig Prickly Pear (also known as Indian Fig)

One of the most commonly known prickly pears.

This variety of Prickly Pear is sweet in taste and is sold commercially in desert regions throughout the world, particularly in the United States and Canada.

People also refer to them as ‘tuna,’ which is shorter for its scientific name ‘Opuntia,’ which means ‘tuna’ in Latin. Prickly pears can be eaten raw or cooked, and they can also be used to make a variety of drinks, candies, and other dishes.

Before making an attempt to germinate seeds, they should be allowed to mature for at least one year. Prior to planting, make sure they are completely free of pulp and dried.

They are at their ripest in the early Fall or late summer. When they become mature, they are a fiery red color with burnt orange pulp on the inside. There are other varieties of tomatoes that are sometimes green on the inside and even yellow at times.

2. Purple Prickly Pears

There are several varieties of purple prickly pears, and their pads have a lavender color to them. Some varieties’ blush has been observed to become more intense during drought.

3. The Spineless Prickly Pears

They are the best choice for use as ornamental plants outside of their natural habitat. They need conditions that are close to ideal to produce well, which is rarely the case.

4. Miniature Prickly Pears

These prickly pears grow in clusters and are known to produce smaller fruits; this makes them an excellent edible ground cover.

5. Roja Pelona

Often likened to the fruit of the kiwi.

6. Santa Rita Purple Prickly Pear.

It has blue and green pads. Purples in a variety of hues can be quite striking. Colder temperatures bring out the purple shade even more. It can be eaten as well as used for aesthetic appeal. The flavor is pleasant and slightly sweet.

7. Naranjona

It has a smooth texture and a taste that reminds one of honey.

8. Cristalina Prickly Pear

This type tastes bland, similar to honeydew that has not ripened yet.

9. Xoconostle

If you like lemon, you will like this variety of prickly pears. However, you should avoid eating a sour prickly pear in its natural state. It is used as a spice and in sauces in Mexican cuisine.

10. Juana

It has a tart flavor, but it is not quite as tart or sour as Xoconostle. The seeds of this plant are also consumed raw.

11. Yellow Platenera

A favorite of many, but it’s difficult to come by. It has a flavor that is a mixture of banana and mango.

12. Amarilla Montesa

It has yellow flesh that is mildly sweet and slightly tart at the same time, making it a good choice for baking.

See more: Cactus Pear Varieties | Breadfruit Varieties | Durian Varieties

Bringing it all together

Hope this list helped you identify different types. In case you’re on the lookout for some, or if you’ve already found some and are curious to know what it tastes like, you now have an idea of what to expect.

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