In the supermarket I usually go to, every Thursday I buy fruit and vegetables.
I don’t choose the fruits/vegetables, Luciana and Alessandra gives me what they have in that moment.
But it is very challenging to see what they give me,
and what I can make out of it.
Last week they gave me Prickly pears, or Opuntia Ficus-Indica
Edible Parts: Flowers; Fruit; Gum; Gum; Leaves; Seed.
Fruit – raw, cooked or dried for later use. Sweet and gelatinous. Very refreshing, they are somewhat like a watermelon in flavour. The fruits are up to 10cm long and 9cm wide. Be careful of the plants irritant hairs, see the notes above on toxicity. Pads – cooked and used like French beans. Watery and very mucilaginous. Flowers – raw. Seed – ground into a meal.
An edible gum is obtained from the stem.
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antispasmodic; Diuretic; Emollient.
The flowers and stems are antispasmodic, diuretic and emollient.
The split stems have been bound around injured limbs as a first aid measure.
The flowers are astringent and are used to reduce bleeding and treat problems of the gastro-intestinal tract, especially diarrhoea, colitis and irritable bowel syndrome.
The flowers are also used in the treatment of an enlarged prostate gland.
A gum is obtained from the stem.
It is used as a masticatory or mixed with oil to make candles.
The juice of the boiled stem segments is very sticky.
It is added to plaster, whitewash etc to make it adhere better to walls.
you can read more here
As I saw them I thought, what can I do with these.
I asked around on the Web,
and I found an interesting recipe of a liquor.
Ok, so now I know what to do with the peel.
Prickly Pear Liquor
10 Prickly pears
1 l of alcool 90%
500gr of sugar
cut the beginning and the end of the fruit.
peel them paying attention to the minutely barbed glochids (hairs)
(that are easily dislodged when the plant is touched and they then become stuck to the skin where they are difficult to see and remove.
They can cause considerable discomfort.)
Put all in big glass jar and pour over the alcohol
Let marinate fot 3-4 days.
Put water and sugar in a pot, simmer until the sugar is dissolved.
Let cool completely all the night*.
The et day filter the alcohol and add the cold sirup.
Pour in bottles and store in a cool, dark and dry place.
After some time the liquor will fade,
put the taste will not resent.
It is delicious!
* always add completely cold sirup to you alcoholic infusion.
If the sirup is warm or lukewarm the liquor will be cloudy, and there is no way of getting the liquor limpid and clear again.
Marina from Mangiarebene gave me this tip.
and this is what you can do, with the pulp!
Prickly Pear jam with star anis
10 prickly Pears (just the pulp)
5 big Apples
1 sachet (20gr) of Pectin (3:1)*
350gr of sugar
2-3 star anise
If you use a Safter:
put the fruit cut in pieces (the apples with core and peel)
the figs, just the pulp in the over part of the Safter.
Fill the lower part with water and cook slowly until you
have consumed all the water (will take a couple of hours)
The next day follow instruction below
Put the fruit cut in pieces (the apples with core and peel)
the figs, just the pulp in a pot and cover with water.
More or less two fingers above the fruit.
Simmer slowly until all the fruit is mashy.
Then put all (fruit and juice) in a cloth and hang it over
a bowl to drop all night.
(if you have a chinois strainer use that)
Don’t squeeze the mass, because it will make the juice
the next day follow instruction below.
I got 950ml of juice.
(If you don’t drink or use the juice put it in the freezer.
It can last max 3 days in the fridge.)
Put the juice in a pot and add the spices.
Let come to boil and then take the pot away from the heat
and let marinate all night.
The next day add the pectina and the sugar and cook for
Pour in clean glasses and put on lid.
Let cool upside down.
The jelly can take up to 12hours to get solid.
*pectin 3:1 means
1kg of fruit, 350gr of sugar and 1 sachet of pectin
950ml of juice, 350gr of sugar and 1 sachet of pectin