The prickly pear is long and oval in shape, with minute hairs that protrude from the skin like small sharp needles. The yellow or pink flesh contains crunchy edible seeds. The fruit has a sweet, slightly nutty flavour, sometimes likened to watermelon.

Prickly Pears are native to the Americas. They grow wild there and also in Mediterranean countries, where they were introduced by Christopher Columbus.

PRICKLY PEAR are classed as a fruit.


Prickly Pears are best eaten as they are, straight from the refrigerator. On a hot day they make a welcome, refreshing snack.

Nutritional Information

Typical values per 100g (raw): energy 28 kcal, 115 kJ; protein 0.5g; carbohydrate 6.4g; fat 0.3g.


Wear rubber gloves to handle them, as the hairs are like small sharp needles which can become embedded in your hand. Cut the fruit in half and scoop out the flesh.


Store in a refrigerator. Prickly pears do not ripen after harvest.


Good quality prickly pears should be firm and feel heavy for their size. They ripen from green to yellow to a deep rosy-apricot colour.

Fun Fact

Prickly pears are the fruit of a type of cactus. They are also known as Cactus Figs.


Shown below is where this item grows in the world and where it may come from when you buy it at your supermarket or local shop.

South Africa