My original plans for last Friday were to meet the famous Alyndabear, touring the world as is her style, but unfortunately she neglected to respond to my text message so that didn't pan out. Perhaps her phone fell in when she was on Splash Mountain. (Actually, she hasn't posted since. You're not dead, are you? I do worry when people visit L.A., as I find the place somewhat unpleasant.)
So, to soothe my bruised ego, I instead set about making some strawberry stracciatella ice cream (very tasty, by the way) and foraged for fruit in my backyard. I had realized the day before that my neighbor's cactus was a prickly pear when I saw that they new lobes it had grown were actually ripening fruit (so I was actually a little excited at this unexpected opportunity to try one that very day).
I ever so carefully plucked the fruit, grasping it with two fingers on the spaces in between the black spots, which are full of tiny spines. Even so, I managed to get a few stuck in my fingers. I took it inside and rubbed it with a paper towel to remove the spines and then washed it.
After cutting off the skin (and making sure there weren't any stickers waiting to stab my tongue) I tried a bite. The fruit had an interesting flavor, like a cross between a papaya and a pumpkin. Unfortunately, it was filled with many small seeds, meaning that each fruit only had a small amount of meat. Definitely a food of desperation.
Additionally, I found myself stabbed by small, near-invisible stickers throughout the rest of the day. As R hilariously kept reminding me, "Don't pick a prickly pear with a paw. When you pick a pear, gotta use the claw!" Yeah, I got it.
The plan for prickly pear jelly has since been scrapped.