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Coming Up: New Mexico Prickly Pear Festival

Celebrate New Mexico’s native flora and its many uses this Saturday!

Coming Up: New Mexico Prickly Pear Festival

The New Mexico Prickly Pear Festival is an annual event designed to celebrate all of the numerous ways prickly pears can be used, from food to medicine.  The festival has plenty of entertainment, shopping, and food to keep the whole family entertained all day.

Background

The prickly pear is a type of cactus that grows large berries which can be used for cooking, medicinal purposes, dyeing clothing, purifying water, and even constructing buildings.  The plant’s significance dates back to the formation of the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan, where the Aztecs believed the location of a prickly pear was a divine sign that the city should be built in that spot.  Since then, it has had a significant impact on Mexican and Southwestern indigenous cultures, considering it was a ready resource that could aid their lifestyles.  While the plant is native only to the American continents, they have been exported around the world, growing well in suitable climates.

Food

Enjoy tasting the wide variety of dishes that can be made using prickly pears, from tacos to juice to sorbet.  With the fruit tasting slightly sweet, it goes well in a variety of cuisine, although it’s most prevalent with Mexican or Southwestern flavors.  Once you’ve tried a few dishes, you can attend some of the cooking demonstrations so that you know how to cook with the fruit at home!

Other Uses And Entertainment

When you’re too full to try another bite, enjoy some live music from Liz Howdy and Abigayle Dawn, or browse some of the local products for sale.  Prickly pear isn’t only for food – you’ll find antiseptic and antibiotic creams, gastrointestinal aids, and more, all containing some part of the cactus.  You can also find dyed yarns and fabrics, or possibly even some pottery products that you can purchase!

Enjoy learning about something so crucial to New Mexico’s culture at the New Mexico Prickly Pear Festival!

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