Where in the USA is the CoCo Locomoto? travel blog

Hedgehog Cactus in bloom

Wild flowers along the road

Prickly Pear in bloom

Prickly Pear

Prickly Pear blossom

Prickly Pear

Prickly Pear

New walnuts starting to form

Prickly Pear Fruit

Traveling north from Tucson to Prescott, the cactus are finally starting to bloom as are the wild flowers. Beautiful to be driving along in the CoCo Locomoto and seeing these beautiful sites. We have learned a lot about the Prickly Pear Cactus and have sent you some candy, fruit and pads from the Prickly Pear. Can you guess how the candy is made? There are different varieties of the Prickly Pear but all have "fruit." The Native people in the area use the fruit to make the candy by peeling it and cooking until soft, then straining the juice to make the candy. Can you guess what other things they made from the fruit? Jellies, jams, syrup, drinks, and desserts to name just a few. Some of the fruits are sweet while others are savory...can you guess what they make with the savory fruit? It is used in soups, stews, breads, and Mexican recipes. Can you guess what the "pads" are used for? They eat them raw, chunked up in salads or peel them and eat the pulp. Did you know that Big Horn Sheep also eat them as they have a big moisture content. The ones we sent you have had the needles removed. Can you guess how the sheep can eat them with all the needles still on them? You can purchase both the fruit and pads in the grocery stores and markets in Arizona as the Native Americans and Mexicans still cook with them. As you can see by the photos, the Prickly Pear has several different colors of blossoms. Remember last fall when we sent you the walnuts and how they grew in the shell that popped open when they were ready for harvest? Photo #8 is of new walnuts forming on a walnut tree in the spring.

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