Upcountry in the cooler climates of Maui, large beautiful cacti are part of the landscape. In fall they are heavy with fruit – the Cactus Pear also called Panini.
I have found an entrance to fields full of cacti. The first time crawling through the narrow fence, I did not really come properly prepared – equipped with a canvas bag and garden gloves, I got so many pokey needles in my hands and on the side of my body, through the bag and clothes – yikes! not fun! It took weeks to come out, some still left…The second time, I brought heavy-duty gloves and double-bagged brown paper bags. I scraped off most of the needles on the dry grass, and brushed the fruit with a scrubbing brush in the sink under running water, and was careful to remove the skin, using a fork to hold it in place.
It is a lot of work, but worth trying, at least once…just for the experience.
Panini, vibrant green or purple, tastes like kiwi – juicy! To avoid the little hard stones/seeds, many people juice the fruit, but I like the crisp juicy freshness of biting into sliced or cubed pieces, preferably cold, maybe even frozen – incredibly refreshing on a hot day!