Discovering The Prickly Pear (Cactus Fruit/Findla) In Ahmedabad

When the husband and I set out to attend the International Kite Festival 2018, on our recent visit to Ahmedabad, little did we know that we were going to make a foodie discovery!

The moment we walked in the entrance at the kite festival, we found ourselves in a sprawling food court, peppered with everything from Gujarati farsan and winter delicacies to ice cream and cakes. It was at one of these stalls that I spotted these prickly, pretty pinkish-red fruits displayed in a basket. I was drawn in, and absolutely had to go and find out what these were. Soon enough, I gathered that these were the fruits of the wild cactus – called ‘Findla‘ in Gujarati, often referred to as ‘Cactus Pear’ or ‘Prickly Pear’ – and… they are very much edible!

Findla aka Cactus Pear or Prickly Pear on display at the International Kite Festival 2018 at Ahmedabad

The people manning the stall – from an Ahmedabad-based firm called Royal Gabat – told us of vast quantities of cactus growing wild in the arid rural areas in Gujarat. Cactus plants are also widely used by farmers to fence off their land. Flowers and prickly fruits grow on these cactus plants throughout the year, fruits that tribals and people from the villages have been consuming for ages now. Only recently, though, has research been done on the health benefits that these fruits hold, the staff at the stall told us. And, apparently, the fruits do possess nutritional benefits by the truckloads.

Cactus Pear aka Prickly Pear or Findla has anti-cancer properties, helps manage diabetes and high cholesterol, aids in weight management, promotes good dental health, helps relieve arthritis and muscle strain, boosts the immune system, and aids the production of iron in the body. These fruits – and the health benefits one can gain from them – are not very popular in the urban areas, and that was just what Royal Gabat had set out to rectify. The firm produces a variety of food products using the Prickly Pear – from syrups and jams to a ready-to-drink juice. The fruits have a lovely sourish taste to them, which lends itself beautifully to juices and jams. A lot of care needs to be exercised in handling the Prickly Pear, however, as their surface is full of thorns.

The beautiful findla sherbet or prickly pear juice we tried out at the stall

For a princely sum of INR 20, the husband and I sampled a glass of the ready-to-drink findla sherbet – juice made from the Prickly Pear, with rock sugar instead of the regular refined sugar. It tasted absolutely delicious, sweet and tangy and cool and refreshing. I am so glad I got to taste this beauty and discover this wonderful fruit!

Since our luggage was already threatening to exceed the permissible in-flight weight limits, we restrained ourselves from picking up any of the Prickly Pear goodies from the stall. 😦 We don’t use much bottled, packaged stuff, anyway.

Prickly Pear Jam on sale at the Royal Gabat stall

I think I would love to experiment with the fresh fruits in my kitchen, whenever I can get hold of them. They would make some awesome desserts, me thinks. Any leads on where I can find Prickly Pears or Cactus Pears in Bangalore?

Check out this Wikipedia link for more info about the Prickly Pear!

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24 thoughts on “Discovering The Prickly Pear (Cactus Fruit/Findla) In Ahmedabad

  1. Yes these fruits are said to have lots of health benefits and anti cancer properties. They are not popular in cities. But few agents have already started cashing it and supply in cities on prepayment on very high prices whereas these grows in abandons. Thanks for the share

  2. Love Gujarati Farsan. The Findla or prickly pear is something I had not heard of and surprisingly so too, having spent a lot of time in Gujarat. If the fruit has anti-cancer properties too then it must make for a healthy and tasty drink too, will look out for this on our next trip to Gujarat.

  3. That is an interesting find. Good to know it has medicinal properties and from the looks, it does look juicy and delicious. I shall keep note of the name so that I can ask for them when I visit Gujarat or Rajasthan. Your post reminds me of my visit to the IKF in 2017. It was such a wonderful experience. Did you visit the kite market aswell?

    1. @SindhuMurthy

      Hope you find these fruits, and that you love them. πŸ™‚ Yes, I did visit the International Kite Festival 2018. I’ve done a separate post on that, in case you are interested.

  4. Wow what an interesting find, I don’t think I’ll be finding these wonderful and healthy sounding fruits in France though! I bet the Kite Festival was fantastic too!

    1. @Caro

      It was indeed a very interesting find! πŸ™‚ Do visit India some time, and you can have your fill of these. πŸ˜€

      Oh, yes, the kite festival was lovely, whatever little we managed to see of it that is. πŸ™‚

  5. I’ve eaten prickly pear before, while I was travelling in Italy. However, I had no idea that these grew and was consumed in India as well. I loved the taste and I’ll try to get them whenever I get to Ahmedabad. Do let me know if you find any in Bangalore, since that will definitely be closer for me.

    1. @Denny George

      Oh, wow!

      I’m pretty sure they are available in other parts of India too, maybe not very well known. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for these. Will keep you posted. πŸ™‚

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