Pickled Prickly Pear Pads

June, July, August

Makes roughly 4 quarts

I first pickled prickly pear pads on a date. Even though the experience was more about getting to know the guy who pickled them with me, I did manage to learn a valuable thing: prickly pear pads are better left whole, or in large pieces, than sliced. Sliced pieces of the pads certainly work (and you will find sliced pads pickled and sold commercially), but the whole pads retain their texture better and release less “slime” or mucilaginous sap into the brine.

Super easy

Pickled Prickly Pear Pads


For 1 Batch(es)


  • 40 young prickly pear pads
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 sprigs dill (optional)
  • 4 hot peppers (optional)
  • 4 cup(s) vinegar
  • 4 cup(s) water
  • 1/2 cup(s) salt

Pickled Prickly Pear Pads Directions

  1. Harvest young prickly pear pads with new leaf growth (tiny leaves, not spines, will be growing out of the areoles, or round openings, all over the surface of the pad). Scrape off all of the thorns with a knife. Because so many tiny thorns grow from the rounded edges of the pads, slice off the edges as well. Wash and cut the pads, if necessary, so they will fit into your jars.
  2. Put 1 clove of garlic, 1 sprig of dill and 1 hot pepper into each jar, then pack the jars full of the prickly pear pads—about 10 pads per jar. Pour the vinegar, water and salt into a pot, and boil until the salt dissolves. Fill the jars with the hot brine to about ½ inch from the top, place the lid and band onto the jar and process in a water bath for 10 minutes. Let the pickles sit in a cool, dark place for 3 to 6 months, and they’ll taste even better!

Recipe notes

Special equipment: 4 sterilized quart-size jars with lids and bands
Water bath canner or lidded pot large enough to hold 4 quart-size jars covered by at least an inch of water