It’s one of the great myths of the American Southwest that the desert is devoid of life or sustenance. Unlike the barren wasteland so many people imagine, the desert is actually filled with a wide range of flora and fauna. What makes these species even more incredible is that many are unique to the North American deserts and cannot be found anywhere else on earth.
One of these plants is the prickly pear cactus. Not only do they produce beautiful flowers in a variety of colors, but they are also a delicious ingredient in many food and drink recipes. Growing anywhere from a foot to seven feet in height, the prickly pear cactus will be a central fixture of your views during any trip to the Phoenix area.
When planning out things to do in Arizona, visitors all too often forget to plan on trying food unique to the area. For instance, try the pad of the prickly pear (known as nopalito) in either a southwestern style salad or as a flavorful addition to tacos and other dishes. If you are out for afternoon cocktails, be sure to try a prickly pear margarita. You can even just sit back and sip on “desert lemonade” made with prickly pear syrup. No matter how you enjoy the prickly pear, it’s always fun to try something new!
Whether it’s the food you try, views you see, or hikes you go on, the best way to experience Arizona is to try something new. With camping, ATV trails, desert tours and more all within a short drive from Phoenix and Scottsdale, there’s plenty of reasons to step out of your comfort zone! Even if that means eating a cactus.