Prickly pear cactus, a pear-shaped fruit found in Hainan
Prickly pear cactus fruits are sold at markets in Sanya usually between June and October. They serve as a refreshing snack eaten out of hand and a popular ingredient in drinks, jams, and more.
Cactus fruits grow on the edges of the flat pads of cacti, and are pear-shaped. They can range in color from green and orange shades in between. Depending on the level of ripeness, they can range from slightly sweet to syrupy sweet.
The prickly pear cactus fruits have sharp thorns on their skin, but the thorns are easily removed by slicing off the ends of the fruit, making lengthwise incisions, and peeling back the rind to reveal the luscious flesh.
In Hainan, the fruit is an important agricultural crop. Large commercial plantations thrive in the region. The prickly pear cacti are widely cultivated in cities and counties across the island, including in Chengmai County and Ding’an County.
There are many ways to enjoy prickly cactus fruit. The raw cactus pears go well in fruit salads and smoothies, and they can be cooked into jams or used in savory dishes. They provide health benefits as part of an overall balanced diet.
Prickly pears cactus is rich in vitamin C and dietary fiber. It is also used for medicine. The fruit contains fiber and pectin, which can lower blood glucose by decreasing the absorption of sugar in the stomach and intestines.