Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Prickly Pear Fruit Chips
We have a LOT of prickly pear cactus growing out on our property. Every summer when it is time to harvest, we pick a bunch of the fruit and make prickly pear jelly. It seems like that is the only way people use it and I wanted something different so I tried dehydrating the fruit and making them into fruit chips. Success! Next time you purchase some prickly pear cactus at the store or harvest some of your cactus, be sure to make them into some delicious prickly pear fruit chips.
Prickly pear fruit is also called "tunas". Many countries eat the pad of the cactus and the fruit regularly but that is not so here in America. I would love to change that and educate people on the fruit today. The prickly pear fruit has a lot of medicinal uses and is highly nutritious. The fruit is high in Vitamin C, Magnesium, Potassium, Iron, Copper, Fiber, and the B-family of vitamins. The fruit can also be used to feed your chickens and pigs; just be sure to remove the spines from the fruit first.
To remove the spines, I have found the easiest way is to burn them off using the flame from my stove-top. Once they are all burned off, I use a peeler to peel the fruit. This ensures that all the spines are removed and I don't like the taste of the peel either. Cut off the ends too.
Now using a pairing knife or a mandolin, slice the fruit. Slice the fruit evenly so it dries evenly.
Lay the fruit onto your dehydrator tray(s).
Turn on your dehydrator to the fruit setting and allow the fruit chips to dry for 8-10 hours. I just turn the dehydrator on before I go to bed and they are done by the time I get up in the morning. You know they are done with they have a leather-like consistency. They taste pretty good and make a nice snack.
I would not recommend giving these to real small children because the hard seeds inside of the fruit have to be swallowed and that might be hard for a toddler to do and be unpleasant for them.
Store the dried fruit in sealed mason jars.
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