200 opuntia robusta (prickley pear?) fruit - Please advise

Baby G (Z10, 300?CH, SoCal-LA)(10)August 12, 2014

I bought a house a couple years ago, and there is a huge prickley pear in the back yard. I'm pretty sure it's opuntia robusta, aka Nopal or Noplaes.

Last year I told a guy who was installing a fence that he could take some of the fruit and he took ALL of them. Boo. I was bummed. I experimented some with cooking with the pads -- the traditional boiling was ok, but sauteing (like okra) was better. Apparently they are good for lowering cholesterol.

This year I pruned it, and it exploded with pads and fruit. Now it has 200 or so fruits on the verge of ripening. What are the best things to do with them? Agua Fresca? Jam? Freeze them for later use in ____?

What is the best way to preserve them? I have a foodsaver (vaccuum & seal thingy).

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Baby G (Z10, 300?CH, SoCal-LA)(10)

Sorry, prickly pear. Please pardon the spelling.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 2:16AM
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Enterotoxigenic00

Lucky you!
My hubby loves them. Usually sautéing the pads then adding onions.
When softened thrown in with pinto beans or eggs.
Our veterinarian would make a free house call so he could
take the fruit to make jam.
Have fun.
Karen

This post was edited by Enterotoxigenic00 on Tue, Aug 12, 14 at 19:36

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 9:45AM
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Isis30(8b TX)

My mom makes candy with the fruit, it's delicious.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 5:25PM
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veggie_girl

Love to juice the fruit.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 8:20PM
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Desirai(7B)

Can you please share how to remove the needles off the pads? My variety has needles that look like hairs but stick in you like ouch!!!!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 8:32PM
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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

Hint: the glochids are flammable.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 12:20AM
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Baby G (Z10, 300?CH, SoCal-LA)(10)

Seriously? You burn them off?
I have good luck removing them from the pads with a potato peeler. The first time I tried to hit just the prickers but then someone taught me to just peel nearly the whole pad. It's pretty easy that way.

I have no idea how to handle the fruit, or at what point its best to pick it. Should be soon though! They are kind of a mango color now.

Does anyone have advice for optimum timing to pick the fruit?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 3:15AM
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