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Prickly Pear

Prickly Pear

Workout Longer & Harder

Prickly pear cactus are found in all of the deserts of the American Southwest, with different species having adapted to different locale and elevation ranges.

Most require course, well-drained soil in dry, rocky flats or slopes. But some prefer mountain pinyon/juniper forests, while others require steep, rocky slopes in mountain foothills.

Locked inside the prickly pear cactus may be the best friend your workout ever had. A French research scientist has established that professional athletes can work out longer and harder while using prickly pear extract.

Prickly pear appears to accelerate the production of the body's natural restorative compounds. Prickly pear has traditionally been used to promote healing -- specifically, as a treatment for inflammatory skin diseases, eye inflammation, intestinal tract inflammation, urinary tract inflammation, burns and joint or muscle inflammation. Now, science has validated these uses.

Prickly pear is nontoxic and has no known safety problems, even when used in large quantities.

Prickly Pear Takes on Obesity

Prickly pear contains what is known as "fat binding properties". These properties allow the body to expel around 30 percent more fat after eating a meal.

Translate: Your body absorbs nearly 1/3rd less fat from the food you've ingested.

The best way to reap the benefits of prickly pear is through your foods. Following are a few recipes for foods you can eat daily to incorporate prickly pear into your diet on a regular basis.

Prickly Pear Tea

  • Fill an 8 ounce glass or one cup with tea (hot or cold).
  • Add 1 teaspoon of prickly pear syrup and stir well.

Prickly Pear Jelly Recipe

1 gallon prickly pear cactus fruit, very ripe (deep garnet color)
4 cups sugar
4 cups juice
2 packages fruit pectin

Gather the fruit using a tong and a pair of gloves. Put the fruit in a sink with water. Using tongs, swish in water to remove stickers. Cut fruit in half. Place in large pan. Boil until fruit is shriveled. Mash with potato masher. Strain through jelly bag or cheese cloth. Bring juice and pectin to boil. Add sugar and boil to jelly stage. Pour into jelly glasses and seal.

Prickly Pear Syrup

Prickly Pear Salad Dressing

1/2 cup prickly pear puree
1/3 cup salad oil (not olive oil)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons tarragon white wine vinegar

Shake all ingredients together in a covered jar. Makes about 1 cup. This pretty pink dressing is thin like an oil and vinegar dressing, but lower in calories. Good on fruit salads and tossed green salads.

Nutrition Nibble: Some studies show that the pectin in the prickly pear pulp can help lower levels of "bad" cholesterol. Both fruits and pads of the prickly pear are rich in slowly absorbed soluble fibers, which help stabilize blood sugar levels. Studies are on-going to learn more.

Prickly Pear Butter

1 pound unsalted butter
2 each prickly pear cactus fruit or 1/2 cup of another fruit or berry of your choice, strawberries, or raspberries, etc.
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup honey
Salt, to taste

Let butter soften slightly in a mixing bowl or food processor. Peel and puree the cactus fruit; strain the juice through a fine strainer. Add: the juice, cilantro, honey and salt to the mixing bowl or food processor; blend until smooth and all is incorporated. Put into the refrigerator until it begins to stiffen. Lay out a small sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap and spread out some of the butter in a small strip. Roll up the paper or plastic like a cigar and twist the ends until it becomes a tight package. Freeze until hard and return to refrigerator to soften slightly for easy slicing.

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