We learned from Margaret D'Arrigo, of Andy Boy in Salinas Valley, California, that the most extensive cactus pear production in Europe is in Sicily, right from where the D'Arrigo Bros. founders, Andrea and Stefano D’Arrigo, emigrated and where there are close to 10,000 acres planted.
The fruit of the cactus plant has a number of different names: cactus fruit or cactus pear, tuna or Indian figs. The Indians use the juice of the cactus pear to make fermented drinks such as colonche wine and brandy. Today, mixologists nationwide are creating all sorts of new ways to use prickly pear in their cocktails (or smoothies). Cactus pear martinis, mimosas, margaritas, and daiquiris are just a few of the cocktails you can prepare but only your imagination limits what you can do with this delicious fruit.
To eat a cactus pear you should use a small sharp knife and slice off each end and make a single slice from top to bottom then peel back the thick purple-red skin to reveal the luscious fruit. The flaming fuchsia color is stunning and mouthwatering and you can even eat the small seeds inside.
2 6-ounce containers of fat-free vanilla yogurt or 1/2 pint of frozen yogurt
2 small ripe bananas, peeled
2 Andy Boy cactus pears, peeled and quartered
1 1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup ice cubes
In a blender, puree the banana and cactus pear.
Add yogurt, juice and ice cubes and blend until smooth.