Have you ever thought you will be eating cactus fruit? All prickly and spiny fruit? You will be amazed to know that you can eat up the prickly pear. It is also known as cactus fruit. You might be scared first because of the presence of minute spicules. It surely is a hard nut getting the fruit out, but you will definitely love the fruit.
The prickly pears, when ripe, give a purple flavor with juicy and sweet pulp. It is one of the best remedies for dehydration. It is eaten as it is when ripe. You can also cook it into sweet and savory dishes when it is unripened. The fruit is usually seasonal. If you love storing them in your home, here is a perfect guide for you.
How to Store Your Prickly Pears?
The instructions to store the prickly pears are easy peasy. They can be stored just like any other fruit. The only thing you need to care about is that they should be handled with care. The tiny spikes may prick your hand. You will bear a lot of pain without knowing where the spikes are. So be gentle and handle them with care. Coming to their storage, you can follow the following steps.
Keep the Prickly Pears in the Pantry
The prickly pears are available in raw as well as ripened form in the market. If you can not visit the grocery store, again and again, you should go for the raw ones. They last longer than the ripened ones. You can keep them in your pantry for a week or two. They will ripe, and you can eat them up. Talking about the riped ones, they will only last for about 2-3 days in the pantry. You should consume them as soon as you can. Otherwise, you will have to throw them away.
Refrigerate the Prickly Pears
It is best when you refrigerate your prickly pears. They last longer without undergoing dehydration. You can keep the raw pears for three weeks while the ripe pears can sustain a week in the fridge. When refrigerating them, keep them in a plastic or zipper bag. It prevents falling of the spikes on other food present in the fridge. You can also place them in a bowl and cover them with silicon lids or plastic wrap.
Dry the Prickly Pears
Isn’t it awesome when you get to enjoy the fruits off-season? Everyone will love it, of course. You can have your prickly pears off-season if you dry them. To dry them off, you first need to get your fruit out. First, rub off the spikes wearing a glove and then gently peel off the skin. On a clean board, cut 0.5mm slices of the fruit if you want to enjoy a little thick bites. You can also cut them thin as per choice. Now, you have several options to dry them. You can place it under the fan, which is a week-long process. You can use a dehydrator machine if available. It provides the perfect results. You can also bake them in the oven on low heat for up to 5-6 hours. Once dried, keep them in zip lock bags.
Can You Freeze Your Prickly Pears?
It is indeed a very useful idea to freeze the pears for longer use. The prickly pears can be frozen either as a whole fruit or in puree form. You can freeze them raw as well as the ripe pears. You can use the frozen raw fruit for cooking purposes. The puree can be used in deserts.
First, peel off the fruit. If it is ripe, blend it or mash and sift it through a sieve to remove the seeds. Use ice cube trays to freeze it. The raw is hard enough to be stored as it is. It should also be peeled to be frozen.
How Long Do Prickly Pears Last?
Prickly pears have a sustained shelf life to an extent. It is all due to the thick skin preset on the outside. It prevents dehydration, so the fruit stays fresh. When ripe, it will last 3-4 days in the pantry. The shelf life increases in the fridge and can be stored for about a week. You can use it for about 7-8 months when frozen.
The raw prickly pears can last for about a week or two in your pantry. It all depends on the nearby environment. If you refrigerate them, they will be all good for three weeks. Also, you can freeze them for a year in the freezer.
How to Tell If Prickly Pears Are Bad?
If your prickly pears exhibit the following symptoms, it is high time that they should no longer be available in your kitchen.
- Molds! If you notice any molds on the skin, you still have a chance of getting good fruit due to thick skin. To check the fruit, you will have to cut it open.
- You will see a weird slimy fluid oozing out of the pear. It is a confirmed sign of spoilage.
- You may smell a rotten smell that will spread all over your kitchen space.