In researching my Prickly Pear fruit and seed, I encountered some generic information that does not seem to have been applied to my specific species, but which does apply.
Although Twisted-Spine Prickly Pear is a member of the Cactaceae family, all cacti in the family belong to the Caryophyllales Order. In part, that means that instead of the flavonoid anthocyanin, the red, orange, yellow colors are betalains. Cacti fruit has higher betalains than beets.
Betalains still need a lot of study, but they are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, help arthritis, prevent colon stomach nerve lung breast prostate testicular cancers, and aid detoxification.
Another Caryophyllales group that grows well here is the Amaranthaceae family… my beloved wild greens are Amaranths and Chenopodiums!
In addition, Prickly Pear fruit has many tiny seeds that can be cold pressed into an oil that is high in amino acids, very high in Vitamin E, Vitamin K, and essential fatty acids. Because it is 60% linoleic acid and 20% oleic acid, it is absorbed without a greasy residue. I read that it can be used in perfume as well. If I produce enough.
Oil from its cousin Barbary Fig (Opuntia ficus-indica) is imported and selling for up to $150 for 50ml. Properties of all cactus fruit and seed are very similar. What this means to me in my food forest is that I will not have to purchase skin oil in the Market Economy because I have a ready supply of high grade oil here already.
I just bumped a manually-operated oil seed cold press up to the top of my want list. Not like it wasn’t already on the list, just farther down. I can steam distill oils now but that is heat processed which would damage this oil.
Now to process the fruit for consumption while removing the seeds for oil. I have always eaten the seeds, and they are very nutricious if the seeds are digested. You would have to grind them with your teeth to break them. The folks in Mexico just swallowed them if I remember correctly. Me too. I will pay better attention if my Twisted-Spine Prickly Pear will just bloom!
I should have added this to the earlier post about Twisted-Spine Prickly Pear but this morning I got a gouge from a dead branch that broke a vein in my leg and bled pretty good. Bleeding cleaned it out, but I cleaned it up with Spearmint infusion I had on hand (I make fresh daily). Puncture wounds are a concern, always, because I cannot take Tetanus shots. My doctor advises bleeding to clean it out, cleaning, and antibiotics if necessary. At least it bled freely.
While I was cleaning with Spearmint, I infused Peppermint and used some on the wound and drank a cup too. Sometimes you want the power of Peppermint!
I needed a Sunday nap after all that. Nap taken, I cleaned my injury again but it is already healing. I drank more Peppermint infusion. That’s my big excuse for splitting the Twisted-Spine Prickly Pear blog in two.