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A forum for growing fruits and rare tropical and temperate fruits, and tending our orchards

Re: Who is growing Prickly Pear?

Postby harveyc » Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:48 pm

harveyc
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Location: Isleton, CA Sunset 14, USDA 9b
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I'm growing a few types, most from a friend in SD county who is growing about 50 or 100 different varieties. I've got one orange one from an Italian guy that brought his in a suit case over 50 years ago from Sicily and I think they are "okay". Some of my newer ones are supposed to have green fruit (mine haven't fruited yet). I tried green prickly pear at the pitahaya festival in 8/09 and liked those better than the orange ones I've tried.

I don't mind the thorns on the plants as much as the spines on the fruit. I get poked enough with chestnuts and pomegranates and often wonder why the heck I'm trying prickly pear.

Re: Who is growing Prickly Pear?

Postby Jason_AU » Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:18 pm

Jason_AU
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Prickly_pears.jpg

The red ones in that picture are the one you want , yummmmm

Re: Who is growing Prickly Pear?

Postby Jason (palo alto) » Fri Feb 18, 2011 2:25 pm

Jason (palo alto)
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I can't stand the seeds in prickly pears. I keep wanting to like them but can't. I actually hacked a large one out at my place when I first moved in before I was more interested in cactus fruit.
I do however love Dragon Fruit and have many plants going. No fruit yet, but maybe next year.
I picked up maihuenia poeppigii from Annie's Annuals which is supposed to make good fruit and stay small and I would like to get some pereskia varieties and get them fruiting.

I recently got a Burbank Spineless prickly pad for my latest scheme. Grafting slow growing but yummy fruited cacti onto it. Apparently cactus grafting is beyond easy and fast growing Opuntia make good rootstock.
I need to figure out what to graft on but I'm hoping to make a multigrafted cactus 'tree' :D

Re: Who is growing Prickly Pear?

Postby Axel » Fri Feb 18, 2011 3:11 pm

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Wow, looks like the seeds pack a punch from a nutrition perspective. This definitely renews my interest in the fruit.

Here's the abstract referred above:
Results are reported on the nutritional quality of prickly pear seeds,Opuntia ficus-indica. The seeds contained 16.6% protein, 17.2% fat, 49.6% fiber and 3.0% ash. The meal showed a high amount of iron (9.45 mg %). The contents of Mg, P, K, Zn and Cu were nutritionally significant contributing approximately 10–20% of the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) of these elements per 100 g of dry weight. The amount of Ca represented less than 10% of the RDA for that element. Aspartic acid, glutamic acid, arginine and glycine were the most abundant amino acids making nearly half of the total amino acids content. The seeds were rich in sulfur amino acids (methionine + cystine). Lysine was the first limiting amino acid resulting in a chemical score of 62 for the protein. The in-vitro protein digestibility and the calculated protein efficiency ratio were 77% and 1.82 compared to 90% and 2.50, respectively, for ANRC casein.

But I don't think the seeds get digested unless they get ground up. I suppose by grinding tuna pulp up in a blender, one gets a delicious protein smoothie. :)

Jason, I agree, tuna tastes a lot like melon, but to me, it's more like cantaloupe flavor wise.

Re: Who is growing Prickly Pear?

Postby Ethan » Fri Feb 18, 2011 9:36 pm

Ethan
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Ethan,

How is does "Mexican Sweet" perform? I would be interested in swapping some pads and seeds sometime. It does amaze me its not widely grown as a food crop here... That can change however, I think the prickly pear really deserves a great breeding program.[/quote]

Nullzero, I have a pad w/your name on it, send me a PM.

Mexico does have some amazing cultivars of tuna but I believe they are also battling a virus (sudden collapse?) that turns cacti to jelly.

-Ethan

Re: Who is growing Prickly Pear?

Postby Jason (palo alto) » Sun Feb 20, 2011 3:10 pm

Jason (palo alto)
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Seriously, if the hard BB like seeds were bred to be chewable like many of the other cactus fruit then I would be all for them.
Right now having a mouth full of rocks and trying to get off the pulp is not worth it.

Wish Luther Burbank would have bred the fruit seedless instead of the pads spineless. :roll:

Re: Who is growing Prickly Pear?

Postby nullzero » Sun Feb 20, 2011 4:55 pm

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I don't view prickly pear as an optimal fresh eating fruit. For me, a nice blend with a good blender (like a blendtec) turns it into an excellent smoothie fruit. Also straining it and making some wine or jam would be great.

Re: Who is growing Prickly Pear?

Postby Jason_AU » Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:15 pm

Jason_AU
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How come you guys don't just stick the fruit in your mouth and swallow it, I'm having trouble understanding why the seeds are a problem when they are so small. The fruits really soft so you don't need to chew on it. My memory might be corrupted but they tasted very err "red flavoured" to me, kinda rasperryish mixed with some watermelon or something like that. I was rating it as good as stone fruit at the time so it must have been pretty good

Re: Who is growing Prickly Pear?

Postby Ethan » Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:05 pm

Ethan
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Jason, some of the seeds I've seen are the size of a dried green pea or dried lentil and in some a seed cavity near golf ball sized. I have taken bites of the seed cavity and pressed the pulp in my mouth and then spit the seeds out, I did not realize they were so healthy. I have a pencil cholla (cylindroputia) that has tasty fruit and no or micro seeds in it, the downside beside the spines.....the fruit is tiny, a little larger than a fresh pea.

I wonder how well the juice ferments?
-Ethan

Re: Who is growing Prickly Pear?

Postby Jason_AU » Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:56 pm

Jason_AU
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Location: 38 deg South 141 deg East
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Oh really?~ the ones I was eating had seeds certainly a little smaller than a brown lentil maybe a lot smaller depending on how big lentils are where you live :)?. If they are that were that much smaller than the plants you guys have well no wonder I didn't have any seed issues :)

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