Like many people, I am guilty of stereotyping Texas. I envisioned cows and cowboys, horses, tumbleweed, and cacti coexisting in a hot, dry desert climate. Upon my first visit to the Lone Star State over twenty years ago, I realized how wrong I was! Yes, Texas has all those stereotypes. I didn't realize, though, that Texas has everything else as well: beaches, rivers, forests, mountains, and yes, desert-like areas. I also didn't realize the bounty of this vast piece of land. Many of those spiny cacti with the occasional, gorgeous yellow blooms are prickly pears. Despite those painful spines on their paddles, prickly pears are food! Both the paddles and the pear-like red (sometimes yellow, sometimes green) fruit are edible and enjoyed in many cuisines--TexMex, Mexican, Latin, Spanish, AND Mediterranean--and they are delicious. For such a "lowly" plant, what marvelous bounty and beauty it provides!
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