Cactus Fruit - The Magic Onions

Cactus Fruit

Cactus fruit ripen to their best in Southern California at Christmas time. The fruit turns a lovely rich red color and, as Kitty pointed out, with the green of the cactus leaves, it’s starting to look a lot like Christmas in the wild places around here.

Cactus fruit, or prickly pear, is a delicious fruit to eat. But, not surprisingly, few have tried it due to the thorns on the skin. You would be surprised at how easy they are to clean.

When the fruit is ripe, the spines come off very easily. We pick a stick and rub the thorns off the fruit while it is still on the cactus plant. They come off at the lightest touch. When we have rubbed most of the thorns off, we pick it and continue rubbing off the little bumps where the spines were. Be sure to remove the thorns on the top and bottom of the fruit.

Wipe with a damp napkin to finish the cleaning process. Now, you can either peel the skin right off… or, if you are in the wild, you can use a stone to cut the fruit in half and use your teeth to scrape the yummy red fruit from the inside.

As you’ll see, cactus fruit is a favorite snack for us on November hikes. Harvesting a few is well worth the work. And, teaching our kids that food really does grow in wild places is a valuable lesson.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Blessings and magic,


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Donni Webber is the mom behind the popular natural living Waldorf website and blog, The Magic Onions - where the magic of nature and the wonder of childhood collide to make each moment a precious gift. She is a photographer, writer, crafter, wife and mother of two inspiring young children. Her work has been featured in many popular publications, including HGTV, Better Homes and Gardens, Disney and Apartment Therapy.

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  1. Anita Sacco says:

    Just recently found your post and am enjoying your postings and writings. Thank you!

  2. we live in AZ and have made prickly pear jelly and syrup. so yummy and such an amazing hot pink color.

  3. RUTH HOFMANN says:

    Ok, let’s try this again. I typed a comment earlier – at least I thought I did. However, I don’t think it did. I got an error msg. What I said was, I’m a newbie to this site, and am very impressed. I’m also new at putting together my own ‘fairy gardens’, but am having great fun doing so. I’m always looking for new & unique ideas of how others do them. I’m most interested in making them look more authentic. I’m in awe of what I see here on your site. Thank you for letting me be here & observe.

  4. My hubs is a catus fruit and leaf lover. We are gathering some during Thanksgiving and will make jelly. He uses the peeled leaves minced in scrambled eggs. They taste a little like green beans to me.

  5. YUMMY!!! My daughter and I were in Arizona last month and despirately tried to find a place to get fresh prickly pear, but to no avail! It’s supposed to grown fine in NC, so I may try to grow our own. We have a living roof…. wouldn’t that be cool to have prickly pear all over our house :-)

  6. Wow, I never knew you could eat prickly pears! I see them all over the place, though. I might have to try this someday! Thanks for the tips!

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