Harvesting Prickly Pear/Nochtli

This morning I was up very early to harvest ruby red prickly pears (nochtli in Nahuatl) from my friend's yard.  This ancestral food has been confirmed by anthropologists to have existed in Mexico for over 25,000 years!  If you have never tasted a prickly pear, they are surprisinly sweet and refreshing, with flavors reminiscent of kiwi, melon, and pomegranate.  Rich in calcium, vitamin C, and antioxidant compounds, prickly pears are a great compliment to homemade lemonades and salad dressings.  If you don't mind the seeds, they are beautiful in a green salad.  My favorite ones are bright crimson red such as the ones I harvested today.  If you are unable to harvest them yourself, look for them in your local Mexican market, usually in late summer.