What You Need for Harvesting Prickly Pear Fruit

When I learned how to harvest prickly pear fruit at Tanque Verde Ranch in Tucson, Arizona, they provided all the supplies. However, I noted the equipment that the pros used for harvesting prickly pear fruit, so I would be ready to pick prickly pear on my own. Foraging for prickly pear is easy when you have the right gear.

Gear list for Harvesting Prickly Pear Fruit

Why do you need this gear for harvesting prickly pear?

Harvested prickly pears
What you need for harvesting prickly pear fruit

Prickly pear fruit is full of small spines. Some are almost microscopic. You may not see them, but you will sure feel them once they get embedded in your fingers. That’s why you need leather gloves.

So too, the prickly pear cactus has spines in the paddles, so those are the ones that will usually get you arms and legs if you are not wearing protective long sleeves and long pants. The garments recommended here are stiff and protective, but will also shield you from the sun.

Prickly pear typically grows in hot, sunny climates, so you need sun protection when you are harvesting prickly pear cactus. Make sure to bring hats, sunglasses, plenty of water to drink and sunscreen.

The prickly pear harvest

Buckets of prickly pears
Galvanized steel buckets help carry the fruit while protecting you from cactus spines | Photo by UNSTOPPABLE Stacey

Long tongs keep your hands away from the cactus spines you want to avoid while harvesting prickly pear fruit.

Look for magenta-colored prickly pear fruit that has no green left in it. Hold the fruit with the tongs and gently twist to remove it from the cactus paddle. For complete instructions on how to how to harvest cactus, read How to Harvest and Prepare Prickly Pear Fruit.

Galvanized steel buckets are sturdy enough to carry the prickly pear fruit, and will protect you from the cactus spines. You don’t want to get those annoying spines in your fingers… or elsewhere!

What to wear while harvesting prickly pear

Woman harvesting prickly pear fruit while wearing hat, boots, long pants
Harvesting prickly pear fruit at Tanque Verde Ranch in Tucson, Arizona

Since prickly pear cactus grows in hot, dry regions, it’s important to protect yourself from the sun while harvesting prickly pear fruit.

A hat and sunscreen will do the trick. And long pants made of heavy fabric will protect you from cactus spines. Although the woman in the photo above is wearing a T-shirt, I recommend a long-sleeve cotton shirt for protection from cactus needles and the sun.  

In the next post, I share about the kitchen gadgets you need for preparing prickly pear fruit.

As is common in the travel industry, UNSTOPPABLE Stacey was provided with accommodations, meals, and other compensation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the Arizona travel writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.

In addition, this blog, UNSTOPPABLE Stacey Travel, contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, Stacey earns a commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help reduce the costs of keeping this travel blog active. 

Further, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Thanks for reading.

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