Mexico is the largest producer of prickly pear cactus in the world as it accounts for 90% of the total area devoted to its cultivation globally and produces 400 thousand tons per year, i.e. 50% of world production, of which it exports 10%.
Prickly pears cactus fruits are the fruits of the nopal, a plant native to the American continent of which there are more than 80 varieties, which produce red, purple, yellow-orange, or white fruits. The most traditional products derived from them are cheeses, flours, nectars, and fruits in syrup. Their skin is used as fodder, although it can also be used to make wines, drinks, waters, juices, and jellies among other by-products.
Prickly pear fruits can also be used to obtain pectins, celluloses, dyes, edible oil, and sugars that can be used to make alcohol, brandy, and sweet syrups.