These tunas are the domesticated variety, Opuntia ficus_indica, that grow wild all over the San Diego County back country roads. The really red ones are ready to eat and/or juice, the yellow-orange ones, which get more shade, should ripen in a couple of weeks. Longer gathering season . . .

These are some of the reddest tunas I’ve ever seen. I’ll be back in a few days to gather them to make juice, which I freeze for the coming months. The tunas are incredibly nutritious. Several articles about the health benefits of the juice are posted on the Arizona Cactus Ranch website here. For recipes, there’s the Prickly Pear Cookbook by Carolyn Niethammer. The pads are edible as well, but it’s the young, bright green pads that ripen in the spring that are good to eat, minus the spines, of course.

Posted by deborah small

5 Comments

  1. AARRGGHH! This brings back bad memories for me. I discovered a large cactus at the back of a disused petrol station (possibly not the best choice for food in hindsight) and was sharing my parental knowledge with my daughters. I told them that the fruits were edible and proceeded to pick some and give them to my daughters…we were picking teeny tiny spines out of our tongues, teeth and cheeks for weeks afterwards and it did nada for respect from my now VERY cynical daughters whenever I proclaim something “edible”.

    Like

    Reply

  2. Hi,

    Where can I find the tunas in the San Diego area?

    Like

    Reply

    1. hi freddy, well, the wild and/or feral tunas are pretty much gone. you might be able to pick up some tunas at a mexican market such as northgate. there are several in the san diego area. good luck!

      New comment on your post “Prickly pear tunas” > Author : Freddy Espinoza (IP: 201.170.111.8 , > 201.170.111.8.dsl.dyn.telnor.net) > E-mail : freddiespinoza@hotmail.com > URL : > Whois : http://whois.arin.net/rest/ip/201.170.111.8

      Like

      Reply

  3. There are also good if you peel them and store them in the fridge for a day. When you go back and eat them the next day they get crisp and are delicious.

    Like

    Reply

    1. hi eric,
      thanks for the tip. i haven’t tried peeling them first and leaving them for a day in the fridge. i’ll try that!

      Like

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s