Prickly Cactus Fruit Wants to Hurt You (that’s just its nature)

Prickly Cactus Fruit Wants to Hurt You (that’s just its nature)

Cactus Pear Jelly

One of the stranger fruits we’ve encountered in Palermo has been the cactus pear, which is sold at just about every market stand in the city. Fico d’India is native to Sicily, despite its name, and a popular snack with Palermitani. We had to try it.

Indian Fig

When we bought them at a fruit stand, the spikes had already been skinned off. Mostly. I thought it’d be safe to handle the fruit like a ball, tossing it into the air and catching it. And for the next couple hours, I was picking the tiny, nearly invisible thorns out of my hands. Lesson 1: never trust a cactus fruit.

Once I had healed up, it was time to try the fico out. We sliced off the ends, as we’d seen vendors at the market do it, then made a slice lengthwise through the skin. After peeling, we were left with a bright red fruit. We chopped it up into a few chunks and I took my revenge on the prickly fruit by consuming it. It’s got a sweet, melon-like taste and the flesh is full of seeds — so many that spitting them out one-by-one would be hopeless. Luckily, they’re edible.

I don’t know if I’ll ever add the cactus fruit to my list of favorites, what with the seeds and pain, but it was certainly interesting to try.

Other weird fruit we tried: The Chirimoya – Mark Twain’s Favorite Fruit

Cactus Pear

3 Comments

  • Federico

    we call them attuppateddi… and there’s a reason why.

    November 27, 2011 at 5:04 pm
  • Carlos

    Actually, the prickly pear was brought by the Spanish to Sicily from Mexico, hence the name Fico d’ India, meaning Fig from the Indies (America).

    June 11, 2013 at 2:56 pm
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