Tropical Fruit Forum - International Tropical Fruit Growers



Author Topic: Cactus fruits that taste good (sweet), other than Dragon Fruit/Pitaya  (Read 38033 times)

FlyingFoxFruits

  • Prince of Plinia
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12237
  • www.FlyingFoxFruits.com
    • USA, FEMA Region IV, FL Zone 9a
    • View Profile
    • Flying Fox Fruits
I know someone on this forum will have good info on this subject of interest to me and many others.

Some cactus fruits deserve to planted much more! and eaten much more!

I have a feeling we are about to open a whole can of nematodes with this topic!

can't wait to learn something, because I haven't been researching cacti...more so avoiding their thorns and glochids.

Dam thorns! >:( :'(    ;D ;D :) ;)

HMHausman

  • Mod Emeritus
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3367
    • USA, Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida, Zone 10B
    • View Profile
    • Pines Ticket Defense, LLC
Re: Cactus fruits that taste good (sweet), other than Dragon Fruit/Pitaya
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2012, 07:33:28 AM »
You pose a thorny question.  The answer to which (and this does not apply to dragonfruit which I very much enjoy), from my humble and I am sure very limited experience is....so far, I haven't found any that taste good enough for me to grow.  I am still looking and will be most pleased to learn of one that warrants contact with its prickly protubernaces and pain associated therewith.

Harry
Harry
Fort Lauderdale, FL 
USA

jb_fla

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 98
    • View Profile
Re: Cactus fruits that taste good (sweet), other than Dragon Fruit/Pitaya
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2012, 08:29:54 AM »
I had a prickly pear that I really enjoyed.  It produced hundreds of fruit with a very dark magenta colored flesh.  The problem for me were the glochids which I detested.  I just chopped it down a couple days ago.

I have read that Mammillaria mammillaris produces a very nice tasting fruit. 

happyisland

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 187
  • all mangoes, all the time!
    • Aruba, Mon Plaisir, Zone 14a
    • View Profile
Re: Cactus fruits that taste good (sweet), other than Dragon Fruit/Pitaya
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2012, 09:44:22 AM »
Here in Aruba there's a cactus that you find everywhere (Aruba is a desert island, so it's mostly cactus down here) that produces a fruit that is identical-looking to the Mammillaria mammillaris pics I just saw on google image search. The fruit has tiny seeds that are crunchy like a kiwi's and has an interesting perfumey flavor. Almost no sweetness though, so it's more of a novelty than an actually tasty fruit.

nullzero

  • Zone 10a
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3488
    • View Profile
Re: Cactus fruits that taste good (sweet), other than Dragon Fruit/Pitaya
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2012, 12:25:13 PM »
My friend who is down in Arizona for a plant vacation, talked to a head guy in a Cactus & Succulents club of Tucson (forgot the exact name of the club, will ask friend again). He said the best tasting cactus fruit he has ever tried was from Stenocereus gummosus. He was baffled that it was underutilized and not cultivated on a wide scale yet.
Grow mainly fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

nullzero

  • Zone 10a
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3488
    • View Profile
Re: Cactus fruits that taste good (sweet), other than Dragon Fruit/Pitaya
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2012, 01:56:57 PM »
Like to add that Prickly Pear is more of what I would call a Blender/Processing fruit. The hard seeds and spines are the major drawbacks to its enjoyment. The seeds are quickly destroyed in a high quality blender, the health benefits of the seeds can then be obtained from the resulting juice.

The spine part is a easy fix;
Ttake some tongs burn off the glochids quickly under a gas stove or bbq, then wash off the fruit and throw in blender.

Most of the potential tasty cactus fruit reside in the Cereus and Stenocereus genus. I have taken some time to start collecting these cactus. Plan is to work with grafting experiments to see if it can speed up growth and flowering/fruiting time. I try to avoid spiny cactus fruit, unless the taste, size, and benefits outweigh the negatives.

Fruiting cactus sections of the garden;





Preparing grafting stock Opuntia monacantha before and after;




Stenocereus gummosus


Unknown Opuntia sp., so far no flowers used mainly for Nopales. I intend to graft some Opuntia selections to this cactus.
Grow mainly fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Pancrazio

  • Off Tropic
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 907
  • Florence, Italy, USDA 8
    • Growing fruits in Florence, and Pratovecchio, Italy
    • View Profile
    • FruttAma.it
Re: Cactus fruits that taste good (sweet), other than Dragon Fruit/Pitaya
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2012, 02:41:36 PM »
I have had some very good fruit from Opuntia ficus-indica, my favorites are the green ones (here they are called "bianche" which means white). They are both very sweet and crunchy. Hard to beat when chilled, in my humble opinion, during an hot day in august. I know that the numerous seeds are disliked by many peoples, but the taste alone, is, in my opinion, very good.
I haven't tasted many cactus fruit, aside from these, but the cactus family has usually very small seeds, so, excluded the pricky pears, they shouldn't be a problem.
Cactus anyway have some great advantages. At least in the south of italy they are effortless to grow (literally effortless). They don't need water. You can plant them in any arid soil and forget about them all year long, except for picking the fruits. And are easy to reproduce - very easy. They ship well.
Well, yes, i'm with you adam, i think they deserve to be grown more, at least in places with water shortage.   
Italian fruit forum

I want to buy/trade the following scions: Mango Florigon/Rosa/Francis Hargrave. Citrus shiranui/US Seedless Surprise. Contact me in PM if interested.

FlyingFoxFruits

  • Prince of Plinia
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12237
  • www.FlyingFoxFruits.com
    • USA, FEMA Region IV, FL Zone 9a
    • View Profile
    • Flying Fox Fruits
Re: Cactus fruits that taste good (sweet), other than Dragon Fruit/Pitaya
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2012, 05:58:28 PM »
I want to increase the diversity of my diet, while also being the grower of the food I eat.  I think each family of fruits has its benefit, and you will be healthier if you just eat a little fruit from each family, year round, even if you eat BK and Mickey Ds a lot.

Cactus fruits have been devoid in my garden, and I'm ready to find the new rage! other than dragon fruit, which is so saturated of a market place, with limited range to be commercially and casually grown.

I will find one that is special I'm sure! it just may take 2-5-10 yrs or more! I've got nothing better to do than discover new stuff to eat and grow. ;)

I have had some very good fruit from Opuntia ficus-indica, my favorites are the green ones (here they are called "bianche" which means white). They are both very sweet and crunchy. Hard to beat when chilled, in my humble opinion, during an hot day in august. I know that the numerous seeds are disliked by many peoples, but the taste alone, is, in my opinion, very good.
I haven't tasted many cactus fruit, aside from these, but the cactus family has usually very small seeds, so, excluded the pricky pears, they shouldn't be a problem.
Cactus anyway have some great advantages. At least in the south of italy they are effortless to grow (literally effortless). They don't need water. You can plant them in any arid soil and forget about them all year long, except for picking the fruits. And are easy to reproduce - very easy. They ship well.
Well, yes, i'm with you adam, i think they deserve to be grown more, at least in places with water shortage.

Jackfruitwhisperer69

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2410
  • Zone 11b
    • View Profile
Re: Cactus fruits that taste good (sweet), other than Dragon Fruit/Pitaya
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2012, 06:19:31 PM »
Hi,
I got a really bad memory with the Prickly Pear's! When I was about 4-5 years old, I fell backward's onto a Prickly pear! My Back was loaded with spines! So,My mom passed the whole afternoon pulling them out with a tweezer :(, But ever seen that day I was hooked in collecting all types of cacti and succulent's!

Here's my Cacti Garden in South Africa!
https://picasaweb.google.com/107913943714882792944/MyCactusGarden#

Here in Madeira Island the Prickly pear is very invasive! It's all over the Island! Every year I harvest bucket's full of this tasty fruits!

Time is like a river.
You cannot touch the same water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again.
Enjoy every moment of your life!

fruitlovers

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15242
  • www.fruitlovers.com
    • USA, Big Island, East Hawaii, Zone 13a
    • View Profile
    • Fruit Lover's Nursery
Re: Cactus fruits that taste good (sweet), other than Dragon Fruit/Pitaya
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2012, 02:01:25 AM »
The purple dragon fruit Hylocereus guatemalensis is quite good, not bland at all. The yellow pitaya Selenicereus megalanthus, (now merged renamed Hylocereus megalanthus) is also very good, very sweet, not bland either. There are also some cultivars of regular ole dragon fruit, Hylocereus undatus that are also quite good. The problem with dragon fruit is that the first commercial growers didn't do their homework, they grew and released all the bland cultivars first...good way to turn off most consumers to a really quite good fruit. I'm not too keen on growing them yet just because of the extra hassle of having to come up with a support system or trellis for them. Also slugs here seem very fond of the plants. I do buy them occasionally in the stores here.
Oscar
Oscar

BMc

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1740
  • Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
    • View Profile
Re: Cactus fruits that taste good (sweet), other than Dragon Fruit/Pitaya
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2012, 03:29:18 AM »
There are some good koubo varieties around. Cereus peruvianus. These are spikier than the prickly pear though.

nullzero

  • Zone 10a
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3488
    • View Profile
Re: Cactus fruits that taste good (sweet), other than Dragon Fruit/Pitaya
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2012, 12:18:53 PM »
There are some good koubo varieties around. Cereus peruvianus. These are spikier than the prickly pear though.

The cereus fruit usually has no spikes and is smooth, the cactus segments can be on the spiky side though.

I would love to get a hold of some of those superior Israeli varieties of Cereus. Right now I am growing the following Cereus;

Cereus comarapanus (This just what the cutting source told me but he was not 100%, this is a purple fleshed Bolivian native)
Cereus fernambucensis
Cereus peruvianus (From Roger Meyer)
Cereus peruvianus (From CRFG member)
Cereus peruvianus monstrose

These have unknown potential, I am hoping the fruit quality is good.

Cereus peruvianus monstrose x Cereus aethiops #1 (seedling cutting)
Cereus peruvianus monstrose x Cereus aethiops #2 (seedling cutting)
Cereus peruvianus monstrose x Cereus aethiops #3 (seedling cutting)
« Last Edit: March 05, 2012, 12:25:41 PM by nullzero »
Grow mainly fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Ethan

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1642
    • Central California Z9/9
    • View Profile
Re: Cactus fruits that taste good (sweet), other than Dragon Fruit/Pitaya
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2012, 12:42:41 PM »
Cylindropuntia arbuscula, a tiny but tasty fruit.

-Ethan

nullzero

  • Zone 10a
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3488
    • View Profile
Re: Cactus fruits that taste good (sweet), other than Dragon Fruit/Pitaya
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2012, 12:45:58 PM »
Cylindropuntia arbuscula, a tiny but tasty fruit.

-Ethan

Ethan,

I have it growing nicely, you can see it in on of the photos. If you want any Opuntia accessions from the GRIN system, I got 8 selections growing (selected for BRIX and Fruit quality).
Grow mainly fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

BMc

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1740
  • Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
    • View Profile
Re: Cactus fruits that taste good (sweet), other than Dragon Fruit/Pitaya
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2012, 05:50:24 PM »
There are some good koubo varieties around. Cereus peruvianus. These are spikier than the prickly pear though.

The cereus fruit usually has no spikes and is smooth, the cactus segments can be on the spiky side though.

I would love to get a hold of some of those superior Israeli varieties of Cereus. Right now I am growing the following Cereus;

Cereus comarapanus (This just what the cutting source told me but he was not 100%, this is a purple fleshed Bolivian native)
Cereus fernambucensis
Cereus peruvianus (From Roger Meyer)
Cereus peruvianus (From CRFG member)
Cereus peruvianus monstrose

These have unknown potential, I am hoping the fruit quality is good.

Cereus peruvianus monstrose x Cereus aethiops #1 (seedling cutting)
Cereus peruvianus monstrose x Cereus aethiops #2 (seedling cutting)
Cereus peruvianus monstrose x Cereus aethiops #3 (seedling cutting)

I had two imported cultivars, 'wonder white' and 'max golden'. One rotted in the wet season. The other I dug up and chopped up and distributed to folks around town in cooler and drier microclimates. I left the original rooted piece under the eaves of the house for 5 months and it is now flowering and shooting without any dirt.

Felipe

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1304
    • Canary Islands, Spain - 12b
    • View Profile
Re: Cactus fruits that taste good (sweet), other than Dragon Fruit/Pitaya
« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2012, 06:45:00 PM »
So far I haven't tasted fruit of columnar cactus, only many dragonfruit and opuntia species. Sorry about you FL guys, but it seems fruiting opuntias are not suited for humid climate. I can tell you, there is no comparison between good opuntia fruit and the best dragon fruit. Spines and hard seeds? Real men don't care about that  8)

Seriously, good opuntia fruit is in my top ten list of all fruit, close to mangosteen and others...

Nullzy, I think we should become friends and interchange plant material and stuff  ;D

nullzero

  • Zone 10a
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3488
    • View Profile
Re: Cactus fruits that taste good (sweet), other than Dragon Fruit/Pitaya
« Reply #16 on: March 05, 2012, 09:15:16 PM »
So far I haven't tasted fruit of columnar cactus, only many dragonfruit and opuntia species. Sorry about you FL guys, but it seems fruiting opuntias are not suited for humid climate. I can tell you, there is no comparison between good opuntia fruit and the best dragon fruit. Spines and hard seeds? Real men don't care about that  8)

Seriously, good opuntia fruit is in my top ten list of all fruit, close to mangosteen and others...

Nullzy, I think we should become friends and interchange plant material and stuff  ;D

Opuntia is native to Florida, using a different humid/water tolerant rootstock may fix many issues with excessive moisture. I agree about the spines and hard seeds, they don't bother me. However it shines as a processed fruit; jams, pies, smoothies, juices, sorbets, :).

Felipe,

I wouldn't mind sharing material, just don't know about your customs etc. Perhaps I can share some seeds with you some time.
Grow mainly fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Felipe

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1304
    • Canary Islands, Spain - 12b
    • View Profile
Re: Cactus fruits that taste good (sweet), other than Dragon Fruit/Pitaya
« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2012, 05:38:49 PM »
Thanks Null. I think shipping some cactus cuttings shouldn't be any problem. I think the other way is different, right?

nullzero

  • Zone 10a
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3488
    • View Profile
Re: Cactus fruits that taste good (sweet), other than Dragon Fruit/Pitaya
« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2012, 06:06:05 PM »
Thanks Null. I think shipping some cactus cuttings shouldn't be any problem. I think the other way is different, right?


Yeah its tougher the other way around, I don't mind sending you some interesting cactus stuff though. Would just need the cost of shipping covered. The PARL Opuntia selections I have from the NALPGRU;

1     PARL 237 http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/acc/display.pl?1652656 ?
2     PARL 244 http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/acc/display.pl?1652662  BRIX 13.00, S. DEV. 0.52
3     PARL 246 http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/acc/display.pl?1652664  BRIX 10.43, S. DEV. 2.82
4     PARL 253 http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/acc/display.pl?1652671  BRIX 15.03, S. DEV. 0.85
5     PARL 254 http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/acc/display.pl?1652672  BRIX 14.60, S. DEV. 1.15
6     PARL 256 http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/acc/display.pl?1652674  BRIX 14.73, S. DEV. 1.37
7     PARL 262 http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/acc/display.pl?1652678  BRIX 11.30, S. DEV. 0.82
8     PARL 342 http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/acc/display.pl?1652725 ?

Give me some time (perhaps 3-6 months), I am going to start grafting these once I get new pads out to Opuntia monacantha rootstocks (This is one of the fastest growing and prolific fruiting, Opuntias I have seen in SoCal). Also going to try grafting a section of Stenocereus gummosus to Opuntia monacantha.

Felipe, I will add you to the friends and feel free to ask me questions or what I have via msgs.
Grow mainly fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Felipe

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1304
    • Canary Islands, Spain - 12b
    • View Profile
Re: Cactus fruits that taste good (sweet), other than Dragon Fruit/Pitaya
« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2012, 06:50:24 PM »
Null, of course I would reimburse you any cost! For this plant material I would wait 6 month or 6 years, anytime it's ok for you ;) Thanks a lot for offering :)

Your selection from the whole germplasm collection at this stations looks very interesting. What references do you have about those opuntias? The sure look beautiful! I wonder about the eating quality..

nullzero

  • Zone 10a
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3488
    • View Profile
Re: Cactus fruits that taste good (sweet), other than Dragon Fruit/Pitaya
« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2012, 07:28:13 PM »
Null, of course I would reimburse you any cost! For this plant material I would wait 6 month or 6 years, anytime it's ok for you ;) Thanks a lot for offering :)

Your selection from the whole germplasm collection at this stations looks very interesting. What references do you have about those opuntias? The sure look beautiful! I wonder about the eating quality..

When you click the links; they will give a brief description of the Opuntia sp. Some are used commercially in Central and South America. One of the curators guided me over to some of these choices.
Grow mainly fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

nullzero

  • Zone 10a
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3488
    • View Profile
Re: Cactus fruits that taste good (sweet), other than Dragon Fruit/Pitaya
« Reply #21 on: March 08, 2012, 12:48:10 PM »
For those who think cactus grow slow....

Drooping Prickly Pear (Opuntia monocantha)

9/18/10 Opuntia monocantha


9/19/11 Opuntia monocantha


This cactus is amazing, this is one of the main rootstocks I intend to use. Size increased around 4 times in a year time frame. It also produces abundant prickly pears, but the spines and glochids are on the higher side. When I eventually start the Opuntia breeding, this rootstock will be used to speed up the fruit development of seedlings.
Grow mainly fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

FlyingFoxFruits

  • Prince of Plinia
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12237
  • www.FlyingFoxFruits.com
    • USA, FEMA Region IV, FL Zone 9a
    • View Profile
    • Flying Fox Fruits
Re: Cactus fruits that taste good (sweet), other than Dragon Fruit/Pitaya
« Reply #22 on: March 08, 2012, 01:50:44 PM »

Opuntia is native to Florida, using a different humid/water tolerant rootstock may fix many issues with excessive moisture. I agree about the spines and hard seeds, they don't bother me. However it shines as a processed fruit; jams, pies, smoothies, juices, sorbets, :).

Felipe,

I wouldn't mind sharing material, just don't know about your customs etc. Perhaps I can share some seeds with you some time.

Ever need pads Null?  I see these darn cacti everywhere...if they aren't protected species, and its legal eagle...I can mail u some.

 :)

Also some other crazy cacti around town, but I don't know what's what.

There is one that looks like a dragon fruit, but stems are like 4 times as thick..and it grows the same way...wonder what fruits taste like, and if I'll get sick eating one?

Only one way to tell.... :o

nullzero

  • Zone 10a
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3488
    • View Profile
Re: Cactus fruits that taste good (sweet), other than Dragon Fruit/Pitaya
« Reply #23 on: March 08, 2012, 05:43:20 PM »
Adam,

Almost all cactus fruit is edible from what I have read, I have never heard of any that are poisonous. I actually have a good plant trading friend who lives nearby you. He has given me so much Opuntia, I am near my limit now. I have Opuntia humifusa, and many others. Thank you for the offer though.

Did I give the selected Opuntia monocantha? I can supply you with some cuttings, I intend to mail my friend some as well out near you. The end goal of the Opuntia monocantha is for a superior rootstock, which will increase fruit and pad yields in a container.

Stenocerues gummosus is said to be the best tasting of all cactus fruits, the downside is the extremely slow growing nature of it! I hope this can be fixed by grafting, so I can reliably produce tasty rare cactus fruit in a few years.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2012, 05:50:30 PM by nullzero »
Grow mainly fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Felipe

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1304
    • Canary Islands, Spain - 12b
    • View Profile
Re: Cactus fruits that taste good (sweet), other than Dragon Fruit/Pitaya
« Reply #24 on: March 08, 2012, 06:48:35 PM »
Null, have you heard of this cactus before?

Eulychnia acida - Cactaceae - Copao - Fruta de um cactus, com sabor ácido, da região semi-desértica do Chile - Vicuña - IV Region - Coquimbo - Chile - 23.01.2009 - Foto de Anestor Mezzomo





https://picasaweb.google.com/101936771881917391876/Frutas24Chile#5298552265208915522
« Last Edit: March 08, 2012, 06:51:34 PM by Felipe »

 

Copyright © Tropical Fruit Forum - International Tropical Fruit Growers