Tag: health

Prickly Cactus Pear

After a good workout, I decided to treat myself to a couple bites of 99% imported Italian dark chocolate from Muzzi, but what to follow that up with? My new fruit discovery of course: the prickly cactus pear.

Native to Mexico and Latin America, but also found throughout the United States, Africa and Asia, this cactus fruit has been consumed raw and in dishes for centuries. As the name implies, it grows on cacti, and has tubercles with small prickly spines on its skin. The ends and base of the pear has glochids which are even more nasty when attached to the skin.

One must be cautious, but it’s well worth to get the pear open as it reveals juicy, red fruit with tiny seeds. The seeds are edible, can be chewed or spit out and dried later (and ground into flour for baking). I prefer to swallow and chew them. It reminds me of other rouge inclined fruit such as the tomato, watermelon and pomegranates due to its juice and seeds. Did I mention it was sweet and delicious?

There are a couple of methods of opening up the fruit. You can steam it lightly for one which will help remove the spines and allow for easy peeling. Personally, I love to eat fruit by itself and raw as a snack or for dessert after a meal. We’ll put the pears under cold water in a bowl or under the tap (remember those gloves) which should despine somewhat. Dry them with paper towels, rubbing vigorously around to further get the remaining spines out. We like to cut the ends, as that is the most nasty part of the pear. Then, we halve the pears and enjoy in whatever manner. In our case, we just use a spoon to scoop the fruit out and into our anticipating mouths.

Summer Read Cactus Pears
The pears would be very good in sorbet, ice cream, jams, salads, juices, soups, and of course, margaritas.

For more information…

Optunia (wikipedia)
Edible Cactus – Prickly Pear

Just finished an hour of pilates and yoga. Legs feel like jelly since it’s been a few weeks. Time for the fitness post though.

Goals: Overall fitness/in shapeness, weight loss, body toning, de-stressing, and through cardio, lower heart rate. I have a pretty fast heart rate due to genetics; I can lower, it’ll probably require a lot of it and a long time.

Stretching (daily): Yoga, Pilates
Strength (daily): Pilates
Cardio (every other day): Running, Pilates, and Dance

Yoga: I love yoga, and this was my first yoga DVD. I’ve been using this for years on and off, but my hamstrings are still quite tight. I use to do the AM workout everyday, but now, I find it a tad too easy and ineffectual for me. I don’t enjoy the PM workout either. The version of this DVD I have includes a Stress Relief workout with Patricia Deason which is the one I use most often now. This DVD does not cut it anymore, and I wouldn’t really like a new one.

Pilates: I just got this a couple months ago, and I love it. It’s five ten minute workouts (abs, buns/tighs, cardo, flexibility, and arms) that you can mix and match. I’ve never done pilates before this, so it’s always tough to get started, but you really feel it. The only one I haven’t tried is the one for arms because I haven’t bought weights yet, and my arms don’t need the workout as my lower body does. I usually do this for 3 sets (30 min), and relax with yoga afterwards. I try to do this everyday.

Running: I did it last summer: The Couch to 5K Running Plan. Sadly, I stopped running in September due to knee problems (hopefully won’t happen again because I bought proper shoes), and I hate going to the gym. I did get to the 3x a week for 30 minute target. The plan gave no trouble as I never got cramps, but I got overheated running in the summer mornings. I’m trying to do it either really early (6AM) or later in the afternoon. I’m addicted to the runner’s high, and when I get started again, I’ll write a whole post on it. My goals are to run every other day for 45 minutes or everyday for 30min in the end.

Dance: This is just me moving around to the dance playlist on iTunes so my heart rate is raised for at least 30 mins.