Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Hunt for Prickly Pear

2010 09 28_Hillsboro T or C MN_2740 Sherry and I headed to a farmer’s market in Deming before we left town.  It was very small, only five or six vendors but they had some interesting stuff.  There were boiled peanuts, tiger melons, Chinese figs, various types of hot peppers, pears, tomatoes and so on.  I bought a bag of the peanuts and a tiger melon, Sherry bought a tiger melon and pears.  We were hoping that someone would have prickly pear fruit but there were none.  A man heard our request and he told us to follow him and he would show us where to pick them for free.  So we followed him to a nearby athletic field where cactus plants were growing in profusion.

The prickly pear fruits could be had for the picking.  That was the problem . . .  You see, the name prickly pear was not given in jest.  Every part of the plant is really prickly.  The kind of prickly that is much like getting fiberglass in you. Now that we were face-to-face with hundreds of the plump fruits, how were we going to pick them.  We were told tongs would work well but we just didn’t have any tongs in the car, go figure.  So a brief search turned up Tom’s Thinsulate gloves.  They worked like a charm.  Tom may never be able to use the gloves again, though.    Sherry had a bag in her pocket (a must for any responsible dog owner).  We picked around 20. 

Now back to the RV to burn the pricklies off.  This time, using tongs, Sherry passed all sides of each fruit over the gas burner in the RV and I took each one and scraped all sides to clean away the stumps the were left after burning.

Sherry had been told on another trip that you can eat the skin and the seeds.  I peeled one and ate it with the seeds which had the feel of gravel in your mouth.  So I decided not only to peel them but to remove the seeds.

We had supper together tonight and we had both the prickly pear fruit and the tiger melon with supper.

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