The cactus pear has become an important fruit crop in many semi-arid lands of the world. The fruit and the young cladodes (‘nopalitos’) have commonly been consumed fresh, but the last decadeʹs research studies on cactus pear processing have produced another alternative which prevents damage to the fruit and, in spite of technological characteristics that make processing a challenge (high soluble solids content, low acidity and high pH), adds value to this crop. The cladodes of the plant are a good source of fibre, an important element for the human diet and of considerable potential for medical use. The results of several of these research studies involving the production of juices, marmalades, gels, liquid sweeteners, dehydrated foods and other products are discussed.
Food processing , foods , Opuntia ficus indica , prickly pear