Cactus Through a Fence
This cactus poke (literally!) through the back of a local high school (Hoover High). I often walk by this time of the year fantasizing about wonderful glazes & jellys that can be made from the prickly pears. However the one time I tried it I had prickles in my fingers for days, and I didn't much enjoy the jam that I made. I guess it stands to reason, it was the first time I tried cooking with prickly pears.
That bit of yucky/bird-poop looking shmootz is actually from the Cochineal Insect. This insect is a non-native and was imported here on purpose to help control the cactus - it is supposed to devastate the cactus plant. I've seen it on this plant for years, and it doesn't seem to be harming it too much.
If anyone would care to share their prickly pear peeling & cooking tips, I'd be happy to listen!