Like all cacti it is a native of the American continent and did not arrive in Europe before the discovery of this continent.
This species is believed to be the earliest species of cactus to be cultivated and nowadays many hybrids and varieties exist. Its exact origins are not known but it probably came from Mexico where similar species can still be found growing wild.
First used by the Knights of St John for its moisturizing properties, and later by farmers as a boundary to deter intruders from entering, the prickly pear fruit has more to offer than meets the eye. The prickly pear is also believed to have several medicinal properties and is sometimes used to help cure stomach aches, inflammations and insect bites.
Try our refreshing Prickly Pear, Orange and Mint Salad recipe!
PRICKLY PEAR, ORANGE AND MINT SALAD RECIPE
- 2 prickly pears, wedged
- 1 orange, wedged
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped loosely
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- Cut pears and oranges into wedges. Chop mint.
- Toss ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl.
Every month we feature a fruit or vegetable that is in season, along with a fun fact or recipe idea. We are currently working on a project, Citizen’s CAP, highlighting the importance of citizen involvement in agricultural policy to ensure healthy food and protection of our agricultural land. In a way, this is a continuation of a previous project, AgroKatina, through which we have published a report on the local fruit & vegetable supply chain. Find out more on www.foemalta.org/agrokatina, where you can also order a free copy of the pocket guide to seasonal fruit and veggies.
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This article reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
This project is co-financed by the Ministry for Education and Employment (MEDE) and the Parliamentary Secretary for Youth, Sport and Voluntary Organisation.