Prickly pear cactus has been a staple of the Mexican and Central American diet for thousands of years.
The plant has two different edible sections: the pad of the cactus (nopal), which can be treated like a vegetable, and the pear (tuna), which can be treated like a fruit.
Remove the spines from the pad by using a vegetable peeler or a knife. The pads not only have large spines, but there are also tiny, invisible and far more irritating spines called glochids that are extremely difficult to remove from the skin. The spines and glochids can also be removed from the prickly pear pads by burning them off.