A to Z Process of Making Prickly Pear Oil

how to produce prickly pear oil

 What is Prickly Pear Seed Oil?

Oil extracted from the seed of the pear often referred to as cactus seed oil is a highly beneficial oil made from the seeds of prickly pear. It is abundant in vitamins E and linoleic acids, omega-6, and much more. Its content of tocopherol is among the highest of all oils. This is why prickly pear oil is also a source of powerful antioxidants and free radical elimination. The yield of seed oil of the prickly pears is extremely low, in general, 1 tonne of the fruit of the prickly pear could yield a Liter of oil. The oil from prickly pear seeds can be absorbed by the skin effortlessly and fully, resulting in maintaining the skin’s moisture. It is proven that prickly pear oil has a major influence on the skin.

The seeds contained 16.6 protein, 17.2 tat, 49.6 fiber and 3.0 ash


It is an excellent antioxidant that has a tightening effect that reduces wrinkles and free radicals and helps to promote the regeneration of cells.

Designation:Cactus oil
Raw material for the oil:Opuntia Ficus-Indica, Opuntien, Prickly pear
Beer type:vegetable oil
Growing areas:South America, Australia, Mediterranean area, Macronesia, probably origins in Mexico
Manufacturing:Cold pressing, or Maceration
Odor:naturally tart, reminiscent of grass
The taste:The slightly fruity,  lightly fruity, and pungent smell
Storage:cool and poor in light, ideal at 12-18° degrees
Durability:unopened up to 1 year, opened max. 8-12 weeks
Use:in the kitchenCosmeticsAnti-agingHairSkin
Side effects:not known
Interactions:not known

How to Make Prickly Pear Seed Oil?

If you cut off the fruit of a cactus then a delicious and edible pulp will be revealed, within which tiny black seeds are scattered. The seeds are then used for the production of costly oil. It is expensive because of the extremely tedious and lengthy extraction process.

To be sure, to preserve the worth of the oil it has to be extracted by this method of pressing cold rather than chemically,  employing a hexane-like substance and then subjected to the heat.

There’s a different method to get oil: through maceration in which prickly pear flowers are stored in one bases oils over a specific period of time. It’s quicker and less expensive however the result isn’t the same.

It takes approximately 35 hours of manual work and about 1000 kg of fruit to make one Liter of prickly pear seed oil. The seeds are extracted from pulp, cleaned dry in sun, and then are pressed. The seed is less than 5% of oil, which is why its process is so costly in terms of time and effort.

How much Prickly Pear Seed is needed for One Liter Oil

Each seed only contains five percent of oil, therefore the production of a liter of oil from prickly pear seeds takes approximately one ton (1,000 kilograms) of fruit to extract 25kg of seeds (1 million seeds from prickly pear). Furthermore, every fruit is packed with approximately 300 seeds.

1-ton fruit = 30/50 kg seeds = 1 liter

1 fruit = 300 seeds

The yield of oils depends on plant cultivar, environmental conditions, and processing methods applied on kernels/seeds…Journal of Chemical Technology and Metallurgy

Step by Step Process of Prickly Pear Oil Production

The process begins with the picking stage. In fact, the prickly pear as a seasonal fruit is not able to be harvested at any time during the year, only after it has been sweet and ripe. Additionally, the presence of uncomfortable ergots on the pear’s surface hinders harvesting.

Step 1: Pick up the prickly pear fruits.

Step 2: Remove the flesh of the fruit prickly pear and collect the seeds of prickly pear.

Step 3: Choose the seeds of the prickly pear then sort them and dry them for the next step.

Step 4: Remove oil from the seeds of prickly pear using an oil press machine.

In fact, it is essential to remove the seeds from their pulp to dry them that are shaded and free of humidity.

It is then essential to crush, and then press the seeds to extract the oil. Extracting is a lengthy process that takes many hours. In reality, it takes about 35 hours to extract one liter.

After that, the oil is then filtered by the aid of a machine, resulting in an oil that is pure and fluid that is greenish or yellow. It has a fresh and fruity scent.

After being filtered the prickly pear oil can rest for up to five days inside stainless-steel containers. This is a crucial step and ensures a consistent oil that is of unbeatable quality. The elixir is prepared only to store in tinted glass bottles to reduce the risk of the oxidation process.

It is crucial to keep in mind that oil of high quality should be cold-pressed first in order to be sure of its advantages.


How is Prickly Pear Seed Oil Cold-Pressed?

To make the oil from the seeds of the prickly pear the fruit must first be removed. The peel is a waste product or animal feed since the seeds that are sought-after are contained in the pulp.

 After peeling, the pulp and seeds are separated.

The kernels are dried in the sun’s heat. Their weight is then determined. For 1liter of oil, you’ll need the seeds of about one ton of fruit!

After pressing the kernels, they are heated up to 50°C to make them slightly smoother and softer. Because, after drying at sun’s rays, they become extremely tough.

Then they are pressed to extract the precious oil. But just squeezes are not enough. Once the oil reaches its usual golden yellow hue, the oil must be filtered multiple times.

Pure prickly pear seed oil is cold-pressed in its natural state and then freshly stored. It is only the best way to keep the valuable ingredients.

The difference between Pear Seed Oil and Pear Blossom Seed Oil

Prickly pear seed oil is not to be confused with prickly pear blossom oil.

Prickly Pear Seed Oil Pear Blossom Oil
Lookout for poor-quality prickly pears seeds oil. This is made through chemical extraction. This is done by exposing prickly pear seeds that are powdered to a toxic solvent like Hexane.Flower oil can be described as macerate. In this case, the blossoms from the pear cactus are placed in a lower oil (solvent) for a specific amount of time. Its oil (solvent) removes specific ingredients from the flowers and absorbs the ingredients. The oil that is extracted is then offered as prickly pears oil.
The oil from the prickly pear produced with higher yields has traces of hexane. Hexane is extracted from the oil by heating.Cosmetics that are based on “oily macerate of prickly Pear flowers” are widely available. The name itself suggests that it’s not the oil of prickly pear seeds but the health benefits of it are unrivaled.
Unfortunately, the majority of the essential ingredients in the oil of prickly pear seeds, like antioxidants and vitamins are destroyed by the heat source. Synthetic antioxidants are used to replace the depleted active components.The blossoms from the Opuntia Cactus are preserved in oil, which extracts certain elements from the flowers. If the oil extracted from prickly pear seeds is available at a low cost it is recommended that it may not be original oil. Because it is usually produced by chemical extraction.
Difference between flower and seed oil

How Maceration Technique works for Pear Oil  Production

Maceration is a method of extraction that can be carried out at the temperature of the room. It involves submerging plants in liquid (water or oil, alcohol, and so on.) inside an airtight container for a period of time that varies dependent on the plant substance and the liquid being employed.

Before processing the plant needs to be cleaned thoroughly and separated from foreign materials like topsoil, pebbles as well as rocks and weeds, and materials that aren’t suitable for extraction.

The plant material can be used fresh or dry based on the desired product.

To improve contact between the substance being extracted and the liquid (solvent) the plants have to be cut into smaller pieces.

The pieces must not be too large or the solvent won’t be able to get into the cell walls.

They should also never be powdered, as this would lead to the loss of the volatile active components (essential oils) in the plant. It would also result in not achieving the hard separation through filtering the plant materials from the liquid once maceration has been completed.

The solvent is to be selected in accordance with the chemical nature of chemicals contained in the plant. Solubility as well as the purpose of the extraction must be taken into consideration when selecting the solvent.

Alcohol is generally the most commonly used chemical because it has the ability to remove a larger portion of molecules (active components) in the plant, including molecules that are hydrophilic, soluble in water, or lipophilic, and therefore, soluble in oil or other organic solvents.

Vegetable oil is used for separating only the lipophilic component (fats), whereas water is utilized for the extraction of only hydrophilic components.

Composition of Prickly Pear Oil

The composition is perhaps the most interesting thing here. The prickly pear seed oil contains 

unsaturated fatty acidsabout 87%
linoleic acid (omega 6)high level of 65%
oleic acid (omega 9)only 11%
moisture content 9.12%
carotenoid content0.61 mg/kg
chlorophyll1.52 mg/kg
acidity 1.11%
peroxide index value4.44 meq O2/kg
oxidative stability17.31 hours
phenolic content260.07 mg/kg
flavonoid content65.99 mg/kg
source: ads

But, the composition of lipids does not make the oil special.  In terms of the ratio of fatty acids, it’s about identical to that of grapeseed oil and sunflower oil.

However, on the other side, oil extracted from the seeds of the prickly Pear is very rich in

  • Tocopherols (vitamin E),
  • Natural free-radical fighters: Alpha-tocopherol is 13.9 percent, gamma-tocopherol 81.9 percent beta-tocopherol 3.3% and delta-tocopherol 1.2 percent.

However, in regards to compositional aspects, it ought to be noted the staggeringly large amount of betalains (polysaccharides red coloring pigments like those you find, for instance in beets) which is the most abundant in the world of plants.

The oil from the prickly pear has a significant amount of vitamin K1 that plays a role in many biosynthesis functions. The vitamin also referred to as phylloquinone, plays a significant role in the metabolism of connective tissue.

Properties of Prickly Pear Oil

The oil’s texture is extremely soft and absorbs quickly, though slightly more dense than argan oil. It is recommended especially for extremely dry skin that has aged. The oil is easily absorbed and Does not leave behind shiny skin. Because of its remarkable antioxidant content, it can solve many of the serious issues women typically face all at once. Actually, it’s pure anti-aging:

  • Restoring elasticity and stopping the formation of wrinkles.
  • neutralizing free radicals and increasing collagen production.
  • The skin is moisturized.
  • Evening skin tone and lessening age spots.
  • Eliminating dark circles around the eyes.
  • Not only is it non-comedogenic, but it is also ideal for fighting the signs of aging.
  • If argan oil is an average of 620 mg of tocopherol for 1 kilogram, pear oil is a ratio of 895 mg/kg. It is the highest of the other plants. This makes prickly pear seed oil a powerful antioxidant that can help strengthen cell membranes and guard against the signs of premature aging. It’s no wonder that tocopherols are referred to as radical scavengers (“radical scavengers”).
  • Betalains are regarded as powerful antioxidants that reduce the damage to organs in the body caused by oxidative processes as well as neutralize the effects of free radicals.

“Prickly pear seed oil contains many positive nutrients and also antioxidants, which is why it is so popular in cosmetics as an anti-aging agent. It also contains vitamin E.”

How to Conserve Prickly Pear Oil?

  • It has to have been chilled-pressed (hydraulic presses to remove juice from fruits as well as veggies) and not cooked to ensure its benefits.
  • The oil of prickly pear is best stored in a glass jar (purple glass is the best choice) to ensure long-term and natural preservation.
  • The label on the bottle should be a mandatory label, like the batch number (which ensures traceability) as well as the INCI list (list of ingredients) as well as the date of the minimum durability, and more.

 How to Recognize Prickly Pear Oil Quality?

If you are looking for exceptional products like the oil of prickly pear It is crucial to pay attention to specific aspects to guarantee high-quality oil and in particular:

  • The botanical name of the oil that is required to be at the top of the INCI list is “Opuntia indica ficus seed oil”
  • Examine the texture: A good Prickly Pear Seed Oil is soft and smooth. It doesn’t leave a sticky film upon the skin.
  • The best assurance of quality is organic certification. Furthermore, periodic audits are conducted to ensure that the oil is pure and that is of the highest quality.
  • Usually, the bottles are filled with very small amounts (a small number of milliliters) in amber glass bottles, with the organic seal.
  • The highest-quality prickly pear seed oil is identified through the designation “Opuntia the seed of ficus indica” and should not be confused with less expensive blossom oil from prickly pears or macerate of prickly pear.
  • Only golden-yellow, oily contents are pure and filtered several times, is native prickly pear seed oil. You can buy it from amazon.com
  • The aroma is pleasant and likes vegetable oils, like olive oil, however with almond notes. Its color tends to be yellow, but sometimes with greenish shades. Be aware of colors that tend to be brown or red or brown, as they could be a sign that oils have already been oxidized.

Where does prickly pear seed oil come from?

Maghreb, Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria or Latin America since that is where the cactus originates. 


Once picked, the prickly pears are peeled, still by hand, before being deseeded. The seeds obtained then follow a long process of cleaning and drying, placed on large cotton sheets directly in contact with the rays of the sun.

Anwar Hossain

My name is Anwar Hossain. I am a cactus lover, researcher, and cactus blogger.

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