It is very confusing when you are learning a new language and find out that one of their words is exactly the same than a word in your language, but they describe completely differnt things. That is exactly what happens when you are from Mexico and learn that the word tuna in English is used to refer to a kind of fish, but you grew up using the word tuna to refer to the fruit of a cactus. Confused yet? Good, I’ve done my job 😀 Anyway, this is what we know as tuna in Mexico:
That’s just the fruit of the prickly pear cactus. You might remember nopales, the pads of the same cactus that I used for this salad. Well, these little guys are the sweet counterpart of the pads. I saw them at the Mexican market last Monday and I immediately picked some up. It’s been a long time since I’ve had tunas (not the fish, we are clear on that) and I just wanted to remember their sweet flavor and their crunchy and slimy texture.
If you want to try them you have to eat them cold. Throw them in the fridge for a couple of hours before eating them and they will be perfect for a hot summer day. Prickly pears have a very thick skin. The easiest way to cut them is to cut the ends and then make a cut lengthwise through the skin. Pull apart the skin where you made the cut and the edible part will stare right at you. Make sure that the prickly pears have been cleaned. It’s not fun when a thorn gets in your skin.
There you have it. Another delicious and nutritious Mexican ingredient that will refresh you this summer. I think agua fresca de tuna (prickly pear juice) sounds perfect right now.