How to Eat a Prickly Pear

One of our favorite things to do when traveling is trying different kinds of fruits. This is how we first learned about our love of mangosteen in Southeast Asia. Sometimes when we get home, it’s possible to find a few of these fruits at the market and we can enjoy them all over again.

We recently picked up a some Prickly Pears and tried them for the first time. We went into it blindly thinking, “How hard can it be to eat a piece of fruit?”

When I sliced open this thorny fruit, the bright red juices oozed all over the plate. It looked delicious and it was clear that it had the potential to stain anything in its path. I took a spoonful right out of the center and it was nothing like what I had expected.

The flavor was delicious, sweet with a slight bite to it, but it was filled with tons of hard seeds. I couldn’t chew the seeds and it appeared there wasn’t much to the fruit otherwise.

YouTube to the rescue. It appears that I was trying to eat the wrong part of the fruit. I found this video and now I know how to eat a prickly pear!

This fruit grows on a cactus, so it’s important to clean off the outside before handling the fruit or cutting it open. You can do this a few different ways, but the video suggests using a knife, sliding it across the outside of the fruit and rinsing it under running water.

If you want to eat the seeds, you can just swallow them, but I prefer to take them out and eat the area in between the seeds and the skin.


Have you ever tried a Prickly Pear?

Christy Woodrow is a travel photographer and professional blogger based in San Diego. She has been traveling around the world with her partner in crime, Scott, since 2006. Join them in their quest to find off-the-beaten-path destinations by signing up for weekly emails and following her on .

  • Rachel Webb

    They grow wild and rife around us, I´ve only tried them once when it was opened and offered to me – will have another go after watching this video – thanks.

  • thetravelchica

    What would we do without YouTube!

  • Ayngelina

    I love prickly pear!

  • Gaelyn

    Nice job of cleaning without getting your tongue poked. I like to gather wild mushrooms. And if lucky, underground truffels.

  • susan

    one of my favorite prickly pear..

  • Sally Stretton I have never tried a prickly pear. Its funny that there is a Youtube video on this subject. I swear you can find a YouTube video on anything! LOL I’m not sure if I have the patience for the prickly pear and I am a really picky eater!

  • This sounds complicated. Maybe I’ll just stick to regular pears. 😉

  • Victoria

    I could do with a posts like this for so many types of food! Great idea!

  • Audrey

    Ooo, I’ve never heard of this fruit before!

  • Steven Crimmins

    I use to have what I think were small prickley pears in my backyard growing up and the fruit is similar, but it was always much smaller (about an inch or so long). We use to skin them, then eat the whole fruit like you would a berry, but it was soft and taste a lot better than when I tried a big fruit from the store. Didn’t know how to eat it so tossed it when I found the center so hard (with almost no flesh around the seeds). I’ll try them again with a fresh one now that I’ve seen this.

    • It’s quite a bit of work for a little amount of fruit, but we enjoy them on occasion. 🙂 I’m glad you found it helpful!

  • JM

    Yes. There are fruits that comes out from the ground.
    JACKFRUIT, though usually has its fruit hanging from its branches, there are times when the soil would crack and lo and behold, the fruit comes out from the ground, and you can smell the ripe ones that have cracked open.

    Btw, you missed a lot by not eating the core of the prickly pear. That inner part is the most delicious and the juiciest. I swallow all the seed because they’re not harmful to you, anyhow. That’s how you eat it—the Mexican way—minus the wall of Donald Trump. LOL.