Prickly Pear

Prickly Pear: Main Image

Buying Tips

When purchasing prickly pear, choose fruit that has a deep, even color and gives to slight pressure.


The pads

The pads are, technically, the flattened stems that protrude from the plant at odd angles. Clinging to each pad are small clusters of tiny stickers. These pads are frequently referred to as nopales or nopalitos—a Spanish terms that refer to the pads once they are cut up and prepared for eating.

The fruits

Cylindrical in shape, the fruits of the prickly pear are also known as tunas—another Spanish term. The most common eaten varieties are the yellow, white, and purple pears (the purple variety being the sweetest).

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The information presented in the Food Guide is for informational purposes only and was created by a team of US–registered dietitians and food experts. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements, making dietary changes, or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2024.