The prickly fruit has been named the fruit of health or youth, because some studies confirm that the organoleptic properties and the presence of betalains cure many skin diseases.

The prickly pear plant (Opuntia ficus) is part of the Cactaceae family. It is a typical arid-resistant plant, requiring temperatures above 0 °C, light soils, without water stagnation, with neutral or sub-alkaline PH. The round, oval, barrel-shaped fruits contain a sweet colored flesh, which is full of seeds. At the starting phases of the fruit’s development, they are of a bright green color changing into various hues from yellow to red as they ripen and depending on the variety.

The flavor of the three varieties, the white colored “Muscaredda” , the yellow hues of the “Sulfarina” and the intense reds of the “Sanguigna”  are surprisingly different, while the organoleptic qualities remain practically the same among them.

Depending on the type of variaties, the plant gives birth to two types of fruit, one that ripens in August, called “Agostano” which is recognized for the smaller size compared to those harvested in October, the latter is called “Bastardone” and is obtained following the so-called “scozzolatura” prunning method

It is said that this pruning technique was born from a quarrel between neighbors: to damage the neighbor, a farmer cut the small fruits on the plants, thinking in this way to stop them from bearing fruit, but the fruiting was only delayed and with the first rains the fruits came out bigger and juicier!

Therapeutic properties, nutritional values and other benefits:

The prickly pear is a fruit very rich in fibers that have a modulating action on intestinal transit, since the fibers of its pulp are useful in case of constipation while its seeds have an astringent action.

The Prickly Pears are rich in vitamins and their consumption plays an important antioxidant, purifying and detoxifying action, they also help to control the appetite.

Nutritional properties of de Prickly Pear:

  • Rich in vitamin C, A, B3, B1, B2, PP are also rich in potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium and phosphorus.
  • Rich in pectin.
  • Great for breakfast and a as mid-day snack!
  • The flowers of the Prickly Pear are rich of flavonoids which give them antioxidant properties.
  • The pads of the Prickly Pear  (also called cladodium), is very rich in juices, fibers and mucilage, which have a hypoglycemic, gastroprotective and even cicatrizing action. Excellent is its centrifuged juice, which has a beneficial protective gastro-action.
  • The oil produced with the plant is rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids that have remarkable antioxidant virtues. In popular tradition it was used to treat scars, because it restores elasticity and tonicity to the skin.
  • Excellent as a dietary supplement against cellulite.

These fruits rich in water and with a high concentration of potassium and  very low quantities of sodium provide noticeable diuretic effects .
Their regular consumption, combined with a low-calorie and hyposodic diet, allows weight loss with clear results on water retention.

Nutritional values of the prickly pear:

Valore energetico (calorie)41 kcal
Proteine0,73 g
Carboidrati9,57 g
Grassi **0,51 g
** di cui Saturi0,067 g
** di cui Monoinsaturi0,075 g
** di cui Polinstauri0,213 g
Colesteroro0 mg
Fibra Alimentare3,6 g
Sodio5 mg
Alcol0 g