When we prepare it, in general, we remove the shell and throw it away, since we think that they are useless and less, if they have remains of the splinters.
If you want to know whether you can eat prickly pear skin, the short answer is yes. The longer answer is that if it’s not dried, then it’s safe to eat. If it’s already dried, then it depends on how old it is—and the older it gets, the less safe it probably is
Because the prickly pear has long been considered an inedible fruit, its shells have often been thrown away. However, researchers are now looking into its numerous benefits and you too can benefit from them!
- Per research done by the National Polytechnic Institute, prickly pear shell helps to care for the digestive system.
- Prickly pear cactus shell, also known as nopal, is a food that is rich in soluble and insoluble fiber. The soft flesh of the fruit, also known as tuna, is eaten raw or used to prepare jams or jellies. In addition to its high fiber content, it contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water, forming a gel-like substance that slows down the digestion process and helps us feel fuller longer. Insoluble fiber passes through our digestive system without dissolving, which helps in relieving constipation.
- Another of its benefits is that it favors the movement of the intestines, preventing constipation problems.
- Juices of nine prickly pears (Opuntia spp.) were characterized in terms of color, acidity, sugar content, phenolics, flavonoids, betalains, and antioxidant activity and tested in vitro against four cancer cell lines……PubMed
- Its antioxidant properties prevent the oxidation of the body’s cells and this helps fight diseases and infections.
- Fiber and antioxidants help modulate digestion, favor bowel movements, the uptake of water from the body, and prevent constipation, among others.
- Although prickly pear powder is made from its shell, it cannot be consumed alone because it could cause the person to choke. Therefore, it needs to be combined with juices or smoothies or added to cereal as a food supplement.
The Prickly Pear Shell and Its Benefits for Digestion
In our daily lives, we are surrounded by new products that claim to promote better digestion, but some of these claims are not scientifically proven.
This is the case with the prickly pear, a cactus fruit that is used in many natural remedies. It’s very popular in Mexico, where the benefits of the fiber contained in its pulp were already known centuries ago.
The researchers found out that the prickly pear shell has a high amount of dietary fiber; it’s also rich in minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and zinc and vitamins such as folates and B6.
These properties can be used for the elaboration of sweet bread-type butter or cereal flakes.
An easy way to integrate it into your diet is in juices or smoothies.
The white prickly pear, yellow, orange, red, and purple is produced, which gives a very attractive natural color to the products.
Is Prickly Pear Skin Poisonous?
The prickly pear skin is a fruit of colors such as purple, yellow, red, and the classic green that we all eat. This delicacy grows on Mexican nopales and its shell is usually full of small spines. Its flesh is sweet with a bitter aftertaste, which makes it perfect for making chilis. It is an ingredient used in the Mexican traditional drink called pulque, which should be made with fresh fruit.
The people who live in the desert of the Southwest like to eat prickly pear fruit. This fruit is very common in Mexico and is found in many parts of the country. The local people also use it to make jams and other products with this fruit.