How they taste: Also called cactus pears, these avocado-shaped fruits have a vibrant ruby-red or golden pulp that is mild and sweet (like a cross between watermelon and lemon). They often come from the Southwest U.S. or Mexico.
Why they’re good for you: Each fruit has a wealth of magnesium—more than an orange, apple and pear combined. A study published in 2009 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which involved more than 64,000 women, found that as magnesium intake went up, risk of type 2 diabetes dropped.
What to look for: Choose deep-coloured pears, and look for ones that are free of squishy, mouldy or dark spots. Store in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to a week, or at room temperature for a few days.
How to prepare them: To peel, slice off both ends and cut skin lengthwise. Slide your knife carefully under the skin and pull it off. The skin should be discarded, but the seeds are edible and pleasantly crunchy. Prickly pears are best served chilled. Add slices to fruit salads, cereal, smoothies and ice cream, or purée for use in vinaigrettes and marmalades.