It's become a tradition every year at the homecoming parade that Mirin and Rose always return with a bag full of thorny prickly pear fruits. There's a huge, beautiful cactus that grows along the way, and Mirin always insists that they stop. This is slightly uncomfortable for my mother-in-law, who always takes them - not only because of the spines that have to be tended to later, but also because the other people walking by always warn their children not to touch the thing, while Mirin is undauntedly and eagerly harvesting.
This year he was prepared, and even requested that gloves and a harvesting bag were brought along, so the prickly pears were in top condition this year. I discovered that flaming them over the gas stove for a few minutes to burn the spines off does wonders for their handlability, and even managed to make salsa this year. Just in case you find yourself with a lot of cactus fruit.
I did not manage to get a photo of the salsa itself that didn't look like a bowl of diced placenta, but I assure you that was only because of the lighting. It looked very beautiful in person.
Cactus Fruit Salsa:
6-8 large cactus fruits, flamed, peeled and diced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 Tablespoon honey
juice of 1/2 lime
* * * * *
Mix all ingredients. Serve immediately. We had it on the side of chicken tacos. It seems to get juicier the longer it sits. It will still have cactus seeds in it, which Ethan complained about. They don't bother me, personally, and that is just the nature of cactus fruit.