I have discovered my new favorite fruit. And the winner is: A Prickly Pear! Now, I’m sure many of you are wondering, “What in the world is a prickly pear?” Well, some of you may remember a little something about a prickly pear in the Disney classic, The Jungle Book. The following lyrics can be found in the song, The Bare Necessities:
“Now when you pick a pawpaw
Or a prickly pear
And you prick a raw paw
Next time beware
Don't pick the prickly pear by the paw
When you pick a pear
Try to use the claw
But you don't need to use the claw
When you pick a pear of the big pawpaw
Have I given you a clue?”
Now Baloo has a point when singing about the prickly pear. The Prickly Pear is actually the fruit that grows on the cactus plant. The fruit comes after a transformation of the buds and flower of the plant. The fruit itself is also covered with countless painful little “hairs” that can easily become imbedded in clothing, skin, or anything else it comes into contact with. You can read more about this interesting fruit at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opuntia
Thankfully, by the time the prickly pears reach the average consumer, they have been cleaned of all the dangerous hairs. However, it is inevitable that you’ll end up with one or two of the painful hairs in your skin after cutting the pear open. But the pain is worth the reward, as the fruit is absolutely delicious. (In my opinion.) The fruit is very juicy and succulent and contains hard seeds that are better off swallowed than bitten into. This fruit is plentiful in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province, but can be found in other desert-like climates.
Once again, I have found another thing that I truly enjoy here in South Africa. Seemingly almost every week there is a new food that I try, and usually enjoy. I look forward to seeing what’s next on my delicious and unique food journey in South Africa.
|The Prickly Pear|
|The wondrous fruit|