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Prickly pear fruit


Introduction of Prickly pear fruit


            Scientific name - Opuntia


Prickly pears have a nature of growing flat with circular shapes cladodes known as the platyclades which are prone to processes two different spines; one which have a large, smooth and immobile spines another one which have hair like prickles known to be glochids which can effortlessly pierce the skin and cuts off from the plant, The fruits are edible ones with a colloquial name cactus fruit, extra attention must be put in order to peel off the spines in the outer part of the skin, if not correctly done the glochids content in the skin will lead to irritation in the throat, lips and tongue since the small spines easily penetrate through the skin as mentioned earlier.

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Nutritional Value of Prickly pear fruit


Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 172 kJ (41 kcal)
Carbohydrates 9.6 g
Dietary fiber 3.6 g
Fat 0.5 g
Protein 2.5 g
Vitamins
Vitamin A equiv. (3%) 25 µg
Riboflavin (B2) (8%) 0.1 mg
Niacin (B3) (3%) 0.5 mg
Vitamin B6 (8%) 0.1 mg
Folate (B9) (2%) 6 µg
Vitamin C (17%) 14.0 mg
Vitamin E (0%) 0 mg
Trace metals
Calcium (6%) 56 mg
Iron (2%) 0.3 mg
Magnesium (24%) 85 mg
Phosphorus (3%) 24 mg
Potassium (5%) 220 mg
Zinc (1%) 0.1 mg


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Habitat of Prickly pear fruit


The prickly pear cactuses originates from most of the desert areas in American Southwest regions also another type of species are known to grow in many spots and in mountain ranges too. The soil has to be well-drained, regions where rocks are uniformly distributed and in mountain slopes, a few require mountain pinyon/juniper forests, some need steep, rock spread slopes in the foothills of mountains. Do you know about the white stuff which my cactus contains? It is nothing but the cochineal insect which is found in the cacti of the Western United States and Mexico. A chosen set of prickly pear cacti species act as a single source of food for these cochineals.

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Health Benefits of Prickly pear fruit


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The prickly pear cacti helps in treating type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, alcohol hangovers, colitis, diarrhea and also benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). It helps in combating viral based infections. It is used to treat diabetes in a natural way which is popular in the native regions and declared to possess hypoglycemic effects. The cultivation of the fruit is on a large scale and used in the manufacture of juices, candies, teas and alcoholic drinks. The American Indians utilize the fruit’s juice in order to heal burns and also the history reveals that the juice was a traditionally used as a medicine to treat diabetes by the Ancient Mexican people .There is also record of the usage of the fruit in the olden days as a remedy for diabetes, lipid disorders, inflammation, ulcers and also pharmacologic side effects.
SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS AND WARNINGS
PREGNANCY AND BREAST-FEEDING
It has not been proved that consumption of prickly pear cacti will cause any complications but it is still advisable that the pregnant and breast-feeding women do not consume them to be on the safer side.
DIABETES
Since the fruit is used to reduce the blood sugar levels for the people affected by diabetes, Necessary steps ought to be taken to be cautious about the low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) and also examine the blood sugar levels if the person consuming has diabetes.
SURGERY
The fruit alters the bloods sugar levels on a large scale so regulating the bloods sugar levels is tuff succeeding and during surgery. If the surgery is scheduled in the coming two weeks it is better to be avoided from that point of time itself.


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Cultivation


Similar to many of the other plants these plants have the capacity to survive many areas; the fruit resists different soils, changing temperatures and various moisture levels. The most preferable areas are hot places with a very well drained sandy soil that is able to bear the cold winter winds. If the plants are given regulated levels of fertilizers on the seasons from spring to the end of autumn in their period of growth coupled with perfect drainage system it can withstand a lot of water than any other plant growing under cultivation. If the prickly pears are grown for their pods it needs a lot of nitrogen fertilizers. Only in the hot climate the completely grown plants could be harvested in pads with a minimum of 6 times in a year and additively the well grown plants can produce 20 to 40 one-half pound pads following one harvest. The removal of pads must be done in a proper manner by properly removing the cuttings and separating it from the supporting pads. The most applicable period for harvest is between mid-morning and mid-afternoon because the acidic properties are lesser at that time.

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Propagation


The best known way for propagation is through pads making it less-complex and quick postulated by Lorraine Thomas of K&L Cactus Nursery in the Galt, California, When the cactus keeps growing a part of the pad is cut which must be a minimum of six months old tending to form the callous, Under warm climatic conditions it may requires two weeks prolongs if the air is more moist. It must be allowed for a longer time if not given it may result in rotting. It must be made to stand in an upright position to form callous else will form curl which must be prevented. The pads had to be submerged inside a Bordeaux mixture to safe-guard from the effects of fungal infections.

Following a month the roots would have cropped out, the pads are stiff inside the soil; Watering must be done often but must be allowed to dry in the equal intervals of future watering. The harvesting must be done only after several months or else the future harvests might be affected. The second or third pad usually will yield pads or fruit; the pad from an old plant might flower and bear the fruits very early rather than a young one.

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