The prickly pear cactus flourishes in the desert-like climates of Mexico, South America and some of the southern states of the USA.
During early spring to summer, the cactus blossoms and the early stages of its fruit can be seen. It is not until September that this fruit should be picked. Though, sometimes a pain to harvest – the spines can cause irritation for days once embedded in human skin – both the pads and the fruit of the cactus are edible.
It can be eaten raw, but the true flavour of the fruit comes alive when made into candy, jelly, juice, wine or – as in teALCHEMY’s case – dried.
The prickly pear has been shown to have a high supply of amino acids, fibre, B vitamins and iron. In traditional medicine, it has been used to treat diabetes, stomach issues, cuts, bruises, sunburn, windburn, constipation and cold-like symptoms.
According to the president of the Group to Promote Education and Sustainable Development, Margarita Barney de Cruz, the plant was used in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries as a waterproof paint for homes, churches and convents.
At teALCHEMY, we combine this versatile fruit with a sweet South African rooibos to create our Rooibos Pearadisio. This sweet, caffeine free tea will pair (pun intended) well with scones, cakes and desserts. You could even make an ice cream out of it!