Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Product Review: xoconostle

The xoconostle (sometimes spelled xoconoxtle [1]) is a variety [2] of tuna (prickly pear fruit [3]) that comes from the Opuntia matudae cactus. To eat a xoconostle you peel off the skin which may be covered in glochids.[4] Glochids are the tiny spines found on many types of cactus. They are barbed and so are much harder to remove than the larger spines.[5] Then cut the xoconostle in half. Scoop out the mass of red seeds and discard them.

My verdict: The flesh of the xoconostle is a little sweet and very tart—more tart than I like. I had Leann put a couple of these in a green smoothie.[6] The result was still tart, but not overwhelmingly so. You could also try adding this to a lemonade. My experience with xoconostles wasn't good enough to merit buying them again unless I try a recipe that specifically calls for them.


[1] Both are hispanicizations of the Aztec word, xoconōchtli, which is derived from Náhuatl xococ "acidic", "bitter", "sour" and nōchtli "prickly pear fruit".

[2] See other varieties here.

[3] Read my review of green tunas here.

[4] If you buy these at a store, the glochids have usually been rubbed off. If you pick these yourself, then you should wear thick leather gloves and use them to brush off the glochids.

[5] A Mexican friend of mine showed me that running your glochid-ridden hands through your hair will remove them a lot faster than using fingernails or tweezers. If you have glochids in your lips and tongue, you may have to resort to something unpleasant...

[6] This consists of spinach, bananas, water, and any other fruits (e.g. grapes, limes, etc.) that we feel like throwing in.


  1. Hi, I am in Texas. Where do you find the fruit? Can't seem to find it for sale around here. jeaners127@gmail.com

  2. When I lived in Utah, I found them in a Mexican grocery store (tienda). I haven't looked for them in Wisconsin, where I live now.