Prickly pears: properties, nutritional values, calories

IThe prickly pear is a cactus from Mexico, easily recognizable due to the flattened oval blades rich in thorns that characterize the plant. Its fruit, unfairly underestimated, is rich in vitamins and minerals and, thanks to the antioxidant substances it contains, it helps the body to protect itself from the action of free radicals and to fight the degenerative processes of the cells. Let's find out better.

> 1. Description of the plant 

> 2. Properties and benefits of prickly pears

> 3. Calories and nutritional values ​​of prickly pears

> 4. Allies of

> 5. Curiosities about prickly pears

> 6. A recipe with prickly pears

Description of the plant

The prickly pear plant, scientific name Opuntia ficus indica, can exceed three meters in height and grows easily in areas with a hot and arid climate; it needs very little water to live and develop and does not need human intervention.

Prickly pears, therefore, are fruits that do not undergo manipulation and are not cultivated with the help of chemicals.

The blades of the plant are also edible young people who are rich in mucilage, pectin and hemicellulose.


Properties and benefits of prickly pears

Popular tradition has always attributed to prickly pears beneficial and healing qualities; many of these properties have been confirmed by scientific studies that have analyzed their impact on health.

Prickly pears are thirst-quenching and boast purifying qualities; they have a good energizing power and help to face the beginning of autumn with more enthusiasm.

Thanks to the richness of soluble fibers contribute to the good functioning of the intestine and they can help with weight loss diets. They also favor the control of cholesterol and blood sugar.

They are a great help against intestinal parasites and, above all thanks to the presence of mucilage, they protect the gastric mucosa.

Although it is a very useful fruit for the gastrointestinal system, it is not necessary to exaggerate in quantity and it is necessary be especially careful if you suffer from diverticulosis.


Calories and nutritional values ​​of prickly pears

100 grams of prickly pears contain about 55 calories.

Furthermore, always for 100 grams of product, we have approximately:

  • Water: 83 g
  • Carbohydrates: 13 g
  • Total fiber: 5 g
  • Fat: 0,1 g
  • Calcium: 30 mg
  • Potassium: 190 mg
  • Phosphorus: 25 mg
  • Iron: 0,4 mg


Discover the virtues of autumn fruit


Allies of

Immune system and cardiovascular system.


Curiosities about prickly pears

The prickly pear was introduced to Europe from the Americas but even if it is not a plant of Mediterranean origins, this climate is particularly favorable and, in fact, it is very widespread in the regions of the southern country, especially in Puglia and Sicily; it is so common in these areas that it represents a characteristic element.

The harvest of the fruits often takes place in the early morning, when the halo of thorns are still enclosed and, consequently, it is easier to avoid getting stung by the thorns that surround them and which are particularly irritating.

From the fiber extracted from the cladodes (the blades) of the still green prickly pears, furnishing accessories and even furniture are made. A company in Salento has in fact patented a method for extracting, drying and processing the fiber of the cladodes for this purpose.


A recipe up your sleeve

Prickly pears are fruits almost completely unknown to our cuisine.

There are excellent natural, that is consumed as a snack, like any other type of fruit; moreover, prickly pears are an ingredient that is very suitable for the preparation of sorbets, jams, ice creams and liqueurs. In Mexico liqueurs based on prickly pears they are particularly widespread and there are many different gradations.

The blades, properly washed and thornless, can be chopped, blanched and sautéed to obtain an excellent side dish.

Have you ever thought about preparing asalad with prickly pears?

Ingredients for people 4

  • 8 prickly pears,
  • a head of romaine lettuce (about 150/200 grams),
  • 50 grams of peeled and toasted almonds,
  • its sale,
  • extra virgin olive oil.


After cleaning the prickly pears, cut them into rather thick slices. Wash and cut the salad and add it to the prickly pears, add the peeled and toasted whole or coarsely chopped almonds and season with salt and a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. It is a very simple salad but equally rich in nutrients.


Prickly pears and sour cherries, forgotten fruits


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