Can You Eat Prickly Pear Cactus Raw?

Prickly pear cactus looks intimidating, doesn’t it? Even after you see it at your local market or supermarket, you wonder if it’s safe to eat at all. “Can you eat prickly pear cactus raw?” you think to yourself.

Yes, and here’s how to do it

Now, before you step into the kitchen with your prickly pear cactus pad, you need to be mentally prepared.

The spines may be off, but there is still something to take note of. You need to skin the cactus pad. However, it is slimy and slippery once you take away the skin. The thing that makes the cactus flesh slimy is its mucilage, which is full of goodness for your immune system.

First, skin the two edges. Then slice off the two sides. After that, you may wish to cut the flesh into strips or cubes. Enjoy with a salad or a dessert.

How to cook prickly pear cactus

Mexican prickly pear cactus dish
For this Mexican dish, the cactus is eaten with the skin on.

I don’t recommend cooking prickly pear cactus because many of its nutrients are heat sensitive. You lose a lot of the phytochemicals in the process. But if you want to try, here are some ideas:

  • Stir fry with meat or vegetables after removing the skin and cutting into strips.
  • Slice with the skin on, then brew a soup with pork or chicken. The skin will come off easily after cooking.

Is raw the best way to eat prickly pear cactus?

Even just raw and straight, there is an even better way to eat prickly pear cactus. It appears that prickly pear cactus is very complex and delicate as a source of immunity boosting nutrients.

In particular,

  • there are parts of the flesh that cannot be digested
  • the quality of prickly pear cactus pads deteriorates quickly after harvesting.

That means that the prickly pear cactus pad that you buy isn’t at its best anymore!

To get the most out of prickly pear cactus, you need to have it properly processed into an easy-to-digest form as quickly as possible. That’s why cactus juice is a thing. Click here to read more about cactus juice.

Why is this important?

Prickly pear cactus contains a lot of phytochemicals, antioxidants, and polysaccharides that nourish your immune system. Click here to read more about the nutrients in prickly pear cactus.

How are you eating your prickly pear cactus today?

There are many ways to eat this plant. Please do share with me your favorite way to eat prickly pear cactus. I have a special interest in it as an immunity boosting food! In fact, you will find a special section on cactus on the site where I create awareness about including it in your diet.

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