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
|EQUIPMENT LIST FOR PRICKLY PEAR HARVEST
|Premium Stainless-Steel Locking Grill Tongs 17-inch , Sturdy, Heavy Duty Tong Set
|Behrens 1212GS Galvanized Steel Utility Pail, 12 Quart
|Carhartt Women's Original Fit Crawford Pant
|Wrangler Women's Western Fashion Denim Shirts
|FURTALK Womens Beach Sun Straw Hat UV UPF50 Travel Foldable Brim Summer UV Hat
|Extra points for the chin strap!
Why do you need this gear for harvesting prickly pear?
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
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
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.
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