Prickly Pear Cactus – Edible?
Q: Are the fruit (tuna) of all varities of optuntia edible?
I have purchased some in the Dekalb Farmers Market that were red in color as well as some from the Asian Market on Buford highway which were green in color.
I found some growing locally at a business in Scottdale, Ga. The owner has told me that they are Prickly Pear and that he has seen a couple of his employees eating them.
Are there any of these that may be dangerous?
I have looked this up on the internet and in one article it says that MOST are edible.
Do you have any suggestions?
A: There are nearly 200 species of prickly-pear cactus. I think the statement that “most” are edible is made simply to cover all of the bases in case one species is found to be poisonous. That said, the common prickly-pear cactus you find in the South is quite edible – both the pads and fruit (tuna). Just be careful to peel off or burn off the spines!