Prickly Pear Citrus Salad

The produce section can be pretty sad in February unless you are looking for citrus fruit. Or oddballs like prickly pear, also known as cactus fruit, tuna and several other names. I saw these at the grocery store one day last winter and bought a few to satisfy my curiosity. A search on found a recipe called Pink Fruit Compote and we discovered a new favourite. The original recipe called for green grapes but I don't like the colour they turn so I add extra grapefruit instead.

A warning - pick the cactus pears up with a produce bag over your hand and handle them with rubber gloves. They have very tiny, hair-like prickles that HURT and are very difficult to remove. If you get a sliver, you can cover the spot with white glue and peel it off when it dries to remove the prickles. Takes me back to second grade!

This is a wonderful recipe for the winter. Delicious for breakfast or brunch and it packs well in lunchboxes. You can add extra citrus to the juice to stretch it for a few days.

Prickly Pear Cactus Salad

1 prickly pear cactus
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice (can subsitute lemon)
2 navel oranges (we like Cara Cara oranges)
2 pink grapefruit
2 cups diced fresh pineapple (or 1-14 oz/398 mL can of pineapple tidbits, drained)
mint to garnish

Wear rubber gloves to cut off both ends and the skin of the prickly pear. Discard the skin and place the fruit in a small food processor or blender. Process until liquefied. Strain through a sieve, pressing down on the pulp to remove as much juice as possible. Discard the pulp and seeds. You will get about 1/4 cup. 

 In a large bowl, combine the prickly pear juice, sugar and lime juice, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
Try a curved-blade knife to easily peel the citrus

Peel and section the oranges and grapefruit, then add them to the bowl, along with the pineapple. Garnish with mint and enjoy!

A shockingly pink fruit salad!


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