Xoconostle and (Regular) Cactus Pears
Feb 27th, 2011, by Alex Zorach
This picture provides a convenient visual comparison of xoconostle, also called sour prickly pear, a rather esoteric type of cactus pear, on the left, with the more familiar cactus pears on the right. Both fruit were for sale at the Newark, Delaware Farmer's Market. The xoconostle are significantly smaller, and have a more pastel color, pink and light green, with a dusty texture, whereas the familiar cactus pears (these of the Andy Boy brand) have a smoother skin.
Xoconostle are rather esoteric and I found little information on them; note the absence of a produce code (the standard cactus pears are #4255). Note the misspelling "xoxonoxtle"; I would not blame anyone for failing to spell this word; this is a word to stump the best spelling bee champions.
Both of these fruit come from the cacti in the Opuntia genus, commonly referred to as "Prickly pears". I have not tried the xoconostle, but the regular cactus pears I have tried, and I'm not crazy about them. They taste fine, but somewhat bland, but they require considerable work to prepare, and the low price is deceptive, as after seeds and other inedible parts, the amount of flesh by weight is relatively low.