First determine ripeness. Cactus pears are firm but not rock-hard when ripe.
- If you bought your cactus pears from a distributor or grocery store, the spikes should be removed. However, if purchased from a farmer’s market, the spikes may still be intact. There are a few ways to remove the spikes, but we’d recommend roasting them above an open flame or carefully using a paring knife to cut them off.
- Safety first! Be sure to wear gloves when removing spikes. They aren’t called prickly pears for nothing.
When preparing, first cut the ends off, then make a lengthwise cut from top to bottom and peel back to enjoy the fruit.
- Try pulsing the fruit in a blender or food processor to make a puré It’s a wonderful base for cocktails, non-alcoholic sodas, and sorbets.