Watch My Food Grow ~ A South Florida Raised Vegetable Garden

Florida Backyard Raised Vegetable Garden

NOT Crawling Through the Desert Looking for Water

December 20th, 2012 by Lila Steinhoff

Westerns

Growing up in the ’50s and ’60s , Westerns were  television staples… Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Rawhide, The Lone Ranger, Rin Tin Tin, and many more that I have forgotten. There were too many western movies for me to begin to count… Broken Arrow, The Gunfighter, High Noon, etc. Invariably, the cowboy hero gets lost or left in the desert by the bad guys and winds up crawling to a cactus to wring out its water and fend off death.

cactus - white flowersCactus Flowers

The hero survived and we all learned that cactuses stored water, but we didn’t know they had edible fruit, too.

From Flowers to Fruit

There are two cactuses in my yard (another story for another time), one in the farthest northwest corner and one along the south fence. Not long ago they bloomed with beautiful white flowers, and after flowering, the small green oval fruit set.

cactus fruitCactus with Fruit

The fruit from this particular type of cactus is ready when it is a dark salmon color, about three inches long, egg-shaped, with its girth about as big around as a golf ball. They are firm but will give if squeezed.

Comparatively Unique Inside

The fruit is easy to cut and separate from the peel. It has a mild, almost watermelon taste… not unpleasant, but not spectacular. It is moist, but really pretty bland. The small black seeds add a nice crunch to the fruit.

Cactus Fruit -K-

Cactus Fruit

I tasted both the fruit and the peel and liked the taste of the soft, sour peel. In fact, eating a little of the peel along with the white flesh would add a spark to the bland-tasting white flesh.

Odd Consistency

Cactus Fruit - K-

Cactus Fruit

The only way I can describe the consistency of the fruit is to say it feels like tiny bubbles if they were dry enough to be slightly crunchy, hold their shape and still  be moist enough to eat and feel fruity. The white part of the fruit is delicate and will crumble when you touch it. It reminds me of cheap Styrofoam that disintegrates if you rub the broken edge.

Eating cactus fruit was an adventure. I probably won’t go to the trouble again, unless someone asks about it. There just wasn’t enough fruit on the cactus or white flesh inside to make the effort worth it. Of course, if I’m ever left in the desert by the bad guys, I know where to find a snack to go with the water I’m squeezing from the pulp.

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7 responses so far ↓

  • Hi Lila, I just found your blog while researching for what kinds of vegetables to plant during the month of January here in South Florida. Thanks for all the information and tips and I love the pictures!

    • Glad to have you visit. After the first of the year, I will be setting up my garden for the season. There will be quite a bit of ‘getting started’ information on the blog. If you have read through the archive of the past 10 months or so, you will understand.

      If you would like to be notified via email each time a new post is released, go to the right side of this page and subscribe. I look forward to having you visit the blog again.

  • I have been looking for the name of this cactus for a while. If you know, could you please let me know. I want to grow one, but want to be sure I get the right one. Thank you!

  • Picked this fruit off my cactus this morning and was searching to see if it was edible. thanks for you info I will now go ahead and eat it.

  • Hello Lila…I am visiting a friend in Florida..while walking my dog I found this fruit on the cactus in the back yard..I found your blog very helpful..I haven’t yet tasted it…;)..

  • Thank you for the great info on the fruit! So appreciate it!