Prickly pears, good but thorny, also interesting for their characteristic shape which has become part of the landscape of many regions, including Italy. It is sometimes a funny fruit with a funny name, it is on the lips of many but few eat it very often. Fewer still I would know how to list the properties. Let's do it now!
Prickly pears: plant
In Calabria and in Sicily it is not so strange to see the prickly pear plant, indeed, it would be strange not to cross even one. It is very similar to the classic cactus, among other things its relative. Like fat plant, that of the prickly pear produces fruit in the summer.
Prickly pears: fruit
The fruits are yellow-orange, more and more full of color as they mature, always maintaining their typical round and slightly elongated shape. One of the characteristic aspects of prickly pears is the presence of thorns, certainly choreographic, but not very comfortable when it comes to peeling and eating them.
Let us not be discouraged, however, because once we pass the test of the thorns, we will be able to taste his juicy and fleshy pulp, rich in water, sugars, vitamins and minerals. We will also find seeds there, but nothing to worry about.
Prickly pears: properties
Rich in vitamins, C first of all, and also minerals, especially potassium and magnesium, prickly pears also have a high content of fibers which are very useful both for those suffering from constipation, and to those who are attentive to their intestinal regularity.
Those who are attentive to the line, however, will find in these fruits an interesting way to have a sense of satiety and help to assimilate less fat and sugar, also keeping blood sugar under control.
Anyone who fears advancing age and its inevitable effects, eating prickly pears does full of antioxidants fighting free radicals and cellular aging, these fruits also promote diuresis and this leads to an evident reduced risk of kidney stones.
Prickly pears: calories
Only 55 are the calories we ingest when we eat 100 grams of Prickly pears, net. This means, making an estimate, that if each fruit weighs two ounces, it provides us with 100 calories, filling us up.
Everyone can include this fruit in their summer diet, all except those who suffer from prickly pears and those who suffer from diverticula. It is because of the seeds contained in the fruits; there is a risk that they get stuck in the bowel loops thus creating unwelcome inflammations or aggravating those already existing in those who suffer from it.
Prickly pears: recipes
When we want to cook a dish with Prickly pears, let's not stop at the fruit but also consider the blades, because they are good and rich in properties equally. We can range between many recipes, the simplest are those of products that we can also find on the market, already prepared and packaged, such as juices, jams, ice cream, granitas, syrups.
But if we want to go further and surprise our guests, we dare to prepare fritters made with prickly pears and also risotto. The sweet taste of these fruits is not at all incompatible as savory recipes, indeed, it combines well. Meanwhile, for breakfast, you can start to get familiar with the flavor by purchasing a jar of jam made from prickly pears, strictly organic, produced in Sardinia.
Prickly pears in history
Called Opuntia ficus-indica this plant as we have seen comes to us from Mexico and from very ancient times it has been used by the populations who lived in South America. It was also cultivated and traded by the Aztecs who not only appreciated its properties but also considered it a sacred plant with strong symbolic values.
In Europe the Prickly Pear arrives around 1493, not a random date, but exactly one year later than the return to Lisbon of the expedition of Christopher Columbus. It is only a hypothesis because in fact the first document that tells us about this plant dates back only to 1535 and distinguishes two species: the Cactus opuntia and the C. ficus-indica.
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