Wednesday, August 12, 2009

How to cut a Prickly Pear (Tunas)

As a young girl I grew up eating Tunas in the summertime and now I am passing this delightful tradition to my girl. The ruby red ones are delicious too. My mother was the one who usually cut them for us because they have tiny bristles or thorns (espinas) that can be irritating if you pick one up right where the bristles are. Eventually I learned how to cut them with a little tutelage from my mother. At the beginning there were many espinas to remove from my fingers with eyebrow tweezers. I'm a pro now.

These were washed with the rubber gloves I wear to wash the dishes with.

Cut the ends off. It's easier for me to hold from the ends to avoid the espinas.

Cut across lengthwise. About a quarter of on an inch deep.

It's a blurry shot, but you can see how far to cut-Right where the fruit begins.

Gently pull the skin back. The fruit will stay intact as you continue to pull all the way around.

Pull the pear shaped fruit out and you are done. I put the peels in the compost. Nothing wasted.

They are ready to eat.

I've cut this one in half so you can see that it has small seeds in every bite. Don't try to chew them because they're hard. It's okay, you can eat them whole. Some people are uncomfortable about eating the seeds. I've never had a problem eating them. They are juicy, sweet and very refreshing on a hot day. Enjoy!


  1. Whoa! I've seen these at the store so many times and have been scared. Now that I can see how it's done, maybe I'll be brave enough to pick some up next time I see them. Thanks.

  2. I made a lemonade using the red tunas. delicious.

  3. Here we call them "higos chumbos" ;) they are delicious, yummmmm!
    What a lovely photo of your little girl painting so concentrated and serene,

  4. Anna,

    Thank you for your comments on my blog. I'm glad you enjoyed the bird walk at the L.A. Zoo. Like you, a busy schedule kept me away from blogging for a while, but I'm hoping to be back at it.

    Thank you for the instructions on how to cut the prickly pear fruit. I've always wondered how it was done and needed to know in relation to some work I do with education and the island fox. The island fox eats prickly pear fruit. I didn't know you could eat the green-colored fruit. I thought it wasn't ripe. I'm inspired to give it a try.
    Keri Dearborn

  5. Mrs Mordecai,
    Glad I've enlightened you to this unusual sweet fruit. As you can see from my nephew's post - we can make lemonade with them too. Although he did use the ruby red prickly pears.

    I'd love the recipe for the lemonade and prickly pears.

    me gusta el nombre que usan, "higos chumbas". me gustaria saber como se las comen y si tiene algunas recetas.
    Me da mucho gusto que dejo un commentario. Mi espanol no esta muy bien pero me gusta tratar.


    I was surprised and please that you dropped me a comment here on my blog. It was great to have found your blog right after our bird and bat watch at the zoo. We had a great time and have been practicing listening to bird calls every morning with my girl.
    It's nice to know that I was able to help you with your research with my prickly pear post. It's pretty cool that you get to work with animals. When I was very young I wanted to work with animals, but I never pursued it or I wasn't encouraged. Art took over and I love that too.
    Hope you find time to post more on your blog. It's fascinating to read your experiences with wildlife in the city.
    Take care and thanks again for the great bird and bat walk.