Just recently discovered that some cacti are edible? Found a weird looking fruit in your grocery store labelled “cactus pear” and want to know what the fruit of a cactus could possibly taste like before maybe grabbing one to try for yourself? Well, you’re in the right place because that’s exactly what I’ll be discussing today.
I’m going to start off with a really important disclaimer: not every cactus is edible, so don’t go around trying to taste-test anything and everything with spines! Some cacti are outright poisonous, so unless you’re 100% certain what you’re planning on eating is edible, stay away!
I’ll start off by discussing the taste of the most commonly eaten cactus & cactus fruit, then talk about a couple others in case you’re interested in how taste differs from one cactus & one cactus fruit to the next. Let’s jump into it!
Most Commonly Eaten: Prickly Pear Cactus & Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit
Currently, the absolute most common cactus eaten by humans is the prickly pear cactus & it’s fruit, often simply called “cactus pear.” You may even manage to find a cactus pear in your local grocery store.
What’s the cactus itself taste like? And does it taste very different from the fruit? If you guessed the fruit would taste considerably different from the plant itself (which is edible, mind you!), you’re absolutely right.
Let’s start with the prickly pear plant itself –
What Do Prickly Pear Cactus Pads Taste Like?
Here’s a video showcasing how you would prep & cook prickly pear cactus, say if you were in a survival situation, stuck in a desert, and couldn’t find anything else to eat around –
In terms of the taste this video mentions: “This one’s kind of tasteless, not too bad. They normally taste like roasted pickles to me.”
There are some who do seem to like the taste of prickly pear cactus pads. Take this video for instance: “Mmm. Tastes really good. This used to be a staple for native Indians here in Mexico, and it still is a staple right now in modern society. Tastes delicious. A bit sour, meaty, crunchy, tons of vitamins and minerals. This will keep you going forever.
What Does Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit Taste Like?
In terms of the fruit, if you’re looking for a guide on how to prepare it if you happen to be foraging, this video in my opinion is excellent:
Essentially you have to be careful because there are spines on the cactus fruit if you’re foraging and not simply buying it from a local grocery store.
There’s a much better description of the taste of the pear cactus fruit in this taste test video:
“There are a lot of pits. They’re pretty small. Texture of the flesh itself is a little bit spongy and soft. And the flavour kind of reminds me of a really concentrated watermelon. It has kind of a mealy, mushy texture of a melon – kind of like watermelon but a lot drier.”
She goes on, “But it has a really nice flavour to it, almost floral-y, very reminiscent of watermelon, but more concentrated. It’s great! It has kind of a flavour a little bit like a cucumber, and in terms of seed arrangement, very similar with seeds everywhere, but the seeds are much harder than a cucumber.”
Sounds like absolutely the kind of thing you’d like if you happen to like watermelon’s taste and texture – which to my knowledge, nearly everyone does!
How Other Cacti & Their Fruit Taste
There are a number of other cacti that are edible and which produce fruit that are edible. In this section, I’ll be discussing only a few.
If you know of any more edible cacti or cacti fruit, and either you’d like to describe how they taste or would like me to source a description of how they taste, let me know in the comments down below.
Dragon fruit, pitaya, and strawberry pear are all the same thing – and would you believe it, this common fruit actually comes from a cactus as well!
Which? From hylocereus cacti, though I’m pretty certain not every hylocereus cactus gives fruit.
What’s dragon fruit taste like?
Based on this excellent taste test, yellow dragon fruit tastes like this:
“The texture is soft and the seeds are crunchy, again kind of similar to kiwi except the crunch is a little bit bigger. […] The texture of this is really nice, very succulent. With a nice little sweetness in there as well.”
Watch the rest of the video to find out what pink dragon fruit tastes like.
Peruvian Apple Cactus Fruit
Cereus repandus, otherwise known as Peruvian apple cactus, also has a fruit that’s edible to humans.
How’s it taste? Apparently a little bit similar to the Pricky Pear, insofar as it’s something like a watermelon texture, but the seeds of this one are, according to this video – like pop rocks: “Almost like a nice cool refreshing watermelon texture with pop rocks in it. Really gives it a really cool texture. Just the hint of sweetness and can’t really compare the taste to anything so you’re just gonna have to try it yourself, but there’s really no really high flavour notes in it, it’s really mild fruit from any perspective. Really good.”
Check out the rest of the taste test, & how to forage them to eat here:
Another taste test describes the Peruvian apple cactus fruit as “…fruity. Kind of the texture-wise is kind of like a kiwi, but not the taste.”
Super interesting, and honestly one I think I’d love to try myself!
Your Thoughts on Cactus & Cactus Fruit Taste?
Have you tried cactus or any fruit of a cactus before? What did you think the taste was similar to? Did you love the taste? Hate it?
Did you know dragon fruit came from a cactus? Are there any other cacti you know to be edible, and have you taste tested any yourself?
Ever been curious to try eating a cactus itself or a cactus fruit? Would you now that you know what they taste like?
Love to hear your thoughts in the comments section down below!