Xoconostle is a nutritious cactus fruit that grows at the end of nopales, or the tear-shaped cactus paddles. The fruit is pear-shaped and about a big as a kiwi fruit. It starts out pale green as turns pink when ripe. Xoconostle, like its prickly pear cousin, is covered in menacing minute spines that will cause invisible discomfort for days after handling the evil buggers. Still the flesh has a smooth, juicy texture and lends a sour flavor to sauces and salsas, as well as the traditional mole sauce and Mole de Olla (beef stew). The fruit can be sprinkled with chile powder and lemon juice and dehydrated for a snack. The juice is also used to make traditional aguas frescas and to flavor pulque.
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