Cacti are really popular plants to have as a decoration. They don’t require a lot of water and don’t die easily. In south Texas, cacti grow everywhere, including the cacti that bear fruit. I look forward for the summer season every year to eat the delicious fruit. Cactus fruit is really fun to eat and tastes great too. You can sometimes find them in grocery stores if you don’t have any of these cacti near you.
The first most common cactus I see in South Texas is the Prickly Pear cactus. They are everywhere in near the Rio Grande. Before the cactus produces any fruit, it first creates small green flower bases in early spring that then turn into beautiful yellow and orange flowers. After the flower shrivels up, the cactus is left with a green prickly pear fruit. I would not recommend eating it while it is still green. The fruit stays green for a couple of months until around late June and early July when it ripens and turns purple.
Whenever you pick one, be careful to not touch the thorns. The thorns are very small and it can take a long time to get them all out. You can use a stick to brush them off, or you can use tweezers but in my experience using a stick to brush them off is a faster solution. Prickly pears are just as purple inside as they are on the outside when they are ripe. Be careful not to get the prickly pear juice on your clothing because it can stain.
Prickly Pears are sweet fruits that I like to eat sometimes in the summer. Although, prickly pears do have a lot of hard seeds inside. You can swallow them if your not sensitive to seeds, or you can spit them out. I don’t recommend eating more than two or three prickly pears at a time because too many at one time can hurt your stomach. Don’t be afraid of trying them though! You can either eat them by themselves or you can mix one or two in a smoothie. I’ve tried both.
The second most common cactus that grows where I live is the Pitaya cactus. Pitaya is Spanish and translates to dragon fruit. The Pitaya fruit is my absolute favorite cactus fruit, I personally think it tastes similar to a kiwi. The inside of the Pitaya looks just like the big red Dragon Fruit you see at grocery stores. The inside of the Pitaya is white with a lot of small black seeds. The seeds aren’t bothersome because they are so small.
During the beginning of spring, there are beautiful purple flowers that bloom from the cactus where the fruit will grow. The Pitaya fruit is very small and can grow to the size of a kumquat fruit if it gets enough water. After the flower shrivels up, the fruit will continue to grow. The fruit will ripen and be ready to eat in late June through July. Finding fruit can be difficult sometimes because the bugs love to eat the fruit as well. It can be easy to take the thorns of the Pitaya because the thorns are larger and fall off easier. When the fruit is ripe you can remove them with your hands, or easily brush them off with a stick. If the thorns are stubborn and do not want to come off, then the fruit is not ripe yet.
As far as I know, Pitayas will not hurt your stomach if you eat a lot. After the thorns are removed, you can peel the green part to get to the fruit. The fruit tastes best right after picking them. You can also put them in the fridge if you would like them cold.
Click here if you would like to know more about cacti and it’s fruit.
I hope you liked reading about cactus fruit :). Come back in late June and July to see what the fruits look like inside when they are ripe! Feel free to comment down below if you have any questions are suggestions. 🙂