Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Nutritious Cactus Fig Smoothie

This is a prickly affair. I warn you! You have to watch your fingers when you handle the figs. They  have tiny spines.

Cactus figs, also known as cactus pears, Indian pears or tuna, actually are neither figs nor pears but berries that grow on cacti.

Did you know that the Aztecs so valued cactus pear that it was considered food fit for warriors and royalty?

Most cactus figs are sold without spines and needles, but they are never really naked. You may want to use gloves while handling them.

And one more thing, this is not a quick morning smoothie recipe. You have to do a little work and you don't want to be in a hurry when you decide to make this smoothie in the morning.

Opuntia cactus

Ripe cactus figs are really delicious. They are rich in vitamin A, beta carotene, and magnesium. Fruits with dark red flesh have higher flavonol and betacyanin content than the yellow or green ones.

Cactus figs are often used to make jellies, but can also be eaten raw. The easiest way to eat them is to cut them in half and scoop the flesh out.

In Mexico you will find the cactus figs nicely pealed for you. For me the whole business of removing the peal is rather messy and I prefer to scoop out the fruit pulp with a spoon.

Like guavas, cactus figs have many seeds. The seeds can be eaten, but are very hard and a real nuisance, so if you want to make a really smooth smoothie you have to pass the fruit flesh through a sieve or a food mill. It takes a little time to process the figs, but you will enjoy the result even more. 

I used six cactus figs to produce one cup of seedless fruit nectar. Depending on how big and how juicy your figs are you may need more. And of course, the more you add, the better your smoothie will taste.

If your fruit is ripe you do not need any additional sweetener, but to fully profit from the fat soluble vitamin A you may want to add a little bit of cold pressed oil. I used the very light and taste-neutral organic cold pressed grape seed oil.

Cactus Figs

  • 6 ripe cactus figs
  • 1 cup spring water
  • 1/2 cup raw protein powder
  • 1 Tbsp cold pressed grape seed oil
  • 2-3 ice cubes

Nutritious Cactus Fig Smoothie - Raw, Vegan, Gluten-Free.
No sugar added.

  • Wash the fruit and cut it in halves. Spoon out the flesh and pass it with a wooden spoon through a sieve or a food mill to remove the seeds. Six ripe cactus figs should produce about 1 cup of fruit nectar.
  • Put the seedless fruit nectar with all the other ingredients in a blender and process on high speed until smooth. 
  • Pour the ready smoothie into tall glasses and enjoy in good company!


Since handling the cactus figs and separating fruit pulp from the seeds is rather work intensive, you can process more fruit and save the nectar for later use. Simply freeze the seedless fruit nectar in an ice cube tray and add it to other smoothies instead of ice cubes. You can also make a wonderful sorbet. Cactus fig blends well with lime juice. Add a bit of raw agave syrup and freeze in a clean, freezer safe dish.

In radiant health - passionately raw - Dominique

Dominique Allmon ©2013


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