The Prickly Pear: An Exotic and Magical Superfood with a Rich and Unique Color

Written and Published by BMT Foods, November 11, 2020

The prickly pear cactus is a hearty growing cactus that grows in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. This cactus is best known for the unique and exotic fruits (called pears) that it produces. Through our relationships with our trusted suppliers in both Mexico (in the Northern Hemisphere) and Peru (in the Southern Hemisphere), BMT Foods supplies prickly pear puree year-round.

You may have seen the exotic prickly pear fruit in the tropical fruits section of your local supermarket. The fruit is best known for its thick, prickly peel and when cut open, displays a unique and magical deep purple/red colored pulp. It is quite nutritious and is believed to provide numerous health benefits.

What are the main health benefits of the prickly pear fruit?

The prickly pear’s strong peel and vibrant colored flesh provides the fruit with many of its key health benefits. First, the prickly pear has an abundance of important vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. It is also a source of taurine, an essential amino acid that helps build protein efficiently and may help prevent everything from heart disease to muscle deterioration.

High in antioxidants due to its exotic pigment, prickly pear puree is believed to help protect against everything from advanced aging to cancer. Additionally, prickly pear fruit is believed to help reduce so-called “bad” (LDL) cholesterol.

Prickly pear has been used for thousands of years as a dietary supplement to regulate the digestive system. Many people expect a greater degree of regularity in their bowel movements. The fruit also contains high levels of insoluble fibers and because of this, it may serve as a natural colon cleanser and rid the body of impurities found within the colon that can interfere with the body’s digestive health.

For those who have struggled with pancreatitis in the past, prickly pear may offer a delicious solution to a painful problem. The same insoluble fibers that serve as colon cleansers also absorb excess bile excreted by the pancreas. Excess bile that is not absorbed is stored by the gallbladder and can lead to gall stones. Gall stones can cause further episodes of pancreatitis for chronic sufferers.

This year’s Peruvian prickly pear harvest promises a better visual color and brix than last year. 

The prickly pear plant grows in a few different regions of Peru including Ayacucho, Arequipa, Apurímac, Ancash and Lima. About 54,000 tons of prickly pear fruit are produced a year. This year’s Peruvian prickly pear crop season begins in the second half of November 2020 and extends until March of next year. This year’s harvest is developing nicely, and both the fruit volume and price remain stable. This year will see approximately 8,000 tons of Peruvian prickly pear fruit available for the juice and pulp industry. Our Peruvian suppliers believe this season will present a better visual color and brix than the previous one.

Our trusted Peruvian prickly pear supplier, Selva Industrial S.A., has its facilities in the city of Callao, location of Peru’s most important port and airport. The prickly pear fruit is grown about 50 to 100 kilometers away from its facility. The exact location of where the prickly pear plant is grown is key to determining its exact fruit color and tone.

BMT Foods is currently offering Peruvian Prickly Pear Puree, perfect for high-end sorbet and dessert applications (Beautiful Purple Puree.) We are available to answer any questions you have about our Prickly Pear and other product offerings. Reach out to us today to learn more.

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