The prickly pear

The prickly peartree is a tree originating in the arid areas and semi-arid of Mexico from where it was introduced in North Africa about the 16th century. It is used there like plants decorative, for the production of fodder and especially for the production of exotic fruits which are marketed throughout the world.

The prickly pears are appreciated on all the Mediterranean circumference. It is the most popular fruit of Tunisia. D’ elsewhere, it is usually called “the sultan of the fruits”. This exotic, strange and attractive fruit knows the passion of the world consuming rich person who appreciates it not only for his savor, but also particularly for its interesting nutritional qualities: low in calories, rich in water, sugars, rock salt, vitamins has and C and fibers.
It is an extremely generous plant and which is satisfied with little to live and produce. In Tunisia, it pushes as much in the average plates of Kasserine and the North-West that in the plains and the valleys of the Cape Bon or Kairouanais. Its force with the expansion is extraordinary and spectacular. However, it is in the area of Thala and more precisely with Zelfène than it opens out best.

The prickly peartree inerme competition even the traditional one. However, the fruit palm of against-season returns in Grombalia (Cape Bon) which has the best plantations of the kind. Besides the production takes there an intensive character with fertilizer contribution, work of ground and irrigation auxiliary.

The harvest of the fruit is spread over one 7 months period; since June until December. The prickly pears are thus available on the markets as from June-July until December-January.
The prickly pear is exported fresh, dried or preserved.


This small fruit of ovoid form, measuring 5 to 8 cm length, is easily identifiable thanks to the fine spines which cover its green and rather thick skin. The fruit is consumed peeled, and its pulp, of color coral or red, appears full with small dark pips, which can be consumed.

Written by Mediatix

   Monday, 15 December 2008

Nutritional interest and dietetics:

Average composition * for 100 G Net
Components (G)
Glucids: 8.00 Protids: 1.30 Lipids: 0.70
Water: 84.5 Food fibers: 4.40  
Minerals (mg)
Potassium: 183.0 Phosphorus: 32.00 Calcium: 46.0
Magnesium: 28.00 Sodium: 1.000 Iron: 1.100
Copper: 0.600    
Vitamins Mg
Vitamins C (ascorbic) ac: 22.00 Provitamin has (carotene): 0.060 Vitamin B1 (thiamin): 0.020
Vitamin (riboflavin) B2: 0.030 Vitamin B3 or PP (nicotinamide): 0.400  
Energy contributions
K Calories: 44.00 K joules: 184.0  

The prickly pear juicy and is scented, with a subtle floral flavor. It has a soft savor and delicately sweetened: it contains 8g indeed glucids for 100. The glucids provide the essence of the energy contribution of prickly pear: 44 kcalories. Indeed, the other energy components are far from abundant: proteins and lipids (present especially in the membrane cells) not exceeding respectively 1,3g and 0,7g for 100g. the prickly pear is presented thus in the form of a moderately energy fruit, being at the same level as orange or bilberry, for example.

It is characterized by one by one content very high of fibers, about 4,4 with 5g with the 100g (a value among highest for a fresh fruit).

The prickly pear provides varied and interesting vitamin contributions. The rate of vitamin (cryptoxanthine), at a rate of 45 to 60 µg with the 100g. finally, of the vitamins of the group B are also present, atrates close to those of the majority of the fresh fruits (0,02mg of B1 vitamin, 0,03 Mg of B2 vitamin, 0,4mg of B3 vitamin or PP).

Among minerals, one observes, in addition to dominant potassium (usual in the fresh plants) of the particularly high rates of calcium (46mg for 100g) and of magnesium (28mg): they are among highest for a fresh fruit. Phosphorus not exceeding 32 Mg, one ends in a calcium ratio/phosphorus very definitely higher than 1, which supports the good calcic assimilation. One can also note the presence of iron and copper in considerable quantities (respectively 1,1 Mg and 0,6mg).

The prickly pear, while bringing only one moderate heating total (44 kcalories with the 100g, is approximately 2% of the daily energy contribution), effectively contributes to reinforce the contributions in vitamins and minerals in the food.

A supply as varied as useful for a good nutritional balance: too much often indeed, the current food is overdrawn into certain of these micronutrients however essential for a good nutritional balance.

Indeed, with 100g of this fruit, one can ensure the glaze of:

  • 27% of the AJR * for the vitamin C
  • 24% of the AJR for copper
  • 7 to 8% of the AJR for magnesium
  • 6 to 11% of the AJR for iron
  • 6% of the AJR for calcium

AJR = Recommended Daily Contribution


When it is eaten fresh, one takes care not to touch it with the fingers, but to remove initially using a fork and from a knife the covered skin of fine and unpleasant hairs.
On our premises, it is consumed fresh or transformed. Indeed, it is brought that in certain areas, in particular in Kariouanais, the women drew a juice (the “robb”) starting from the fruit which they gave to the children the morning before the departure at the school.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 12 February 2009 )

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