Wild Food
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Wild Food
See the hummingbird?  She nested in our avocado tree Christmas 2001
 An extremely valuable wild resource Prickly Pear cactus can be found throughout the southwestern U.S. and Mexico.  

Prickly Pear Cactus

Prickly Pear cactus is one of our favorites. Both pads (leafs) and fruit are edible and lend themselves to numerous recipes. The pads, once the spines are removed, can be sauteed whole in olive oil, and make a fine main dish (add in garlic, mushroom, olives, tomato). The pads can also be chopped and added to egg dishes, bread, and casseroles. We recently made cactus ice cream with young green pads! The fruit (yellow, orange, or red), can be eaten "as is" (we cut them in half, and carefully scoop out the soft inside). Christopher likes to make a fruit puree, then freeze it for later use in bread, juices, ice cream, and pies.
 The fruit, tunas, ripen in summer  Prickly Pear cactus plants (Opuntia species) produce more young green pads when they are regularly harvested. Fruit sets on in early summer and ripens (usually) in late summer or early fall. We always pick lots of the fruit to process and freeze, so that we will have it year 'round.

  These pages are intended to be an aid to learning about wild edibles -- but cannot substitute for the
essential training one needs to get from a knowledgeable guide.

The ONLY "thumbrule" worth knowing:
Know your plants!
"When in doubt, do without!"