Do Prickly Pears Ripen After Being Picked? (EXPLAINED)

Disclosure: As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

Do Prickly Pears Ripen After Being Picked

The prickly pear is a fruit that isn’t all that common in many places. Scientifically known as Opuntia, prickly pear is a genus of the Cactaceae (cactus family). 

Prickly pear is sometimes refered to as Sabra, Tuna, Nostle, or Nopal, depending on where in the world you find yourself.

Although it may be harder to find than other fruit, prickly pear has numerous health benefits. It helps treat high cholesterol and diabetes as well as hangovers, dehydration, and obesity.

Below, we discuss the real question: do prickly pears ripen after being picked?

Do Prickly Pears Ripen After Being Picked?

Prickly pears aren’t known to ripen much after picking. That’s why it is best to wait and harvest them only when they are clearly ripe. A fully ripe prickly pear will lose its prickles, so the ripe ones are fairly easy to spot.

How Do You Ripen a Prickly Pear?

Prickly pears aren’t going to ripen much after you pick them. You may place them in a brown paper bag with apples or a banana and hope for the best. 

When you check back in a few days, don’t expect to see the sort of progress you would with other fruits that are known for ripening after being picked.

After sitting at room temperature for a few days, in a bag or not, prickly pear should at the very least soften up a bit (albeit, that is not to say that it will be sweeter or riper).

How to Tell if a Prickly Pear is Ripe?

Ripe prickly pear has already completed the transition from solid green to a full yellow or red color. They have also lost most of their prickles, if not all of them. These two indicators are all the insurance you need that prickly pear is ripe. That said, you may also squeeze them gently, checking for firmness with a bit of give to them. 

Can You Eat Green Prickly Pear?

Prickly pears can indeed be eaten green, though it isn’t really suggested. They may have a slightly watery but sweet flavor to them, but the trouble isn’t worth it. If you want to eat a green prickly pear, you will have to collect it and while it is still green it will still be full of prickles.