Most people know that a native Israeli is referred to as a Sabra (tzabar in Hebrew). However, not everyone knows what a Sabra really looks like (not the human variety). A Sabra is actually a form of cactus, Opuntia ficus-indica, in the past known as a ‘prickly pear’ and now most often called a ‘cactus pear’.
The fruit of the Sabra is thorny on the outside with a thick peel that must be removed, to get to the sweet meaty inside.
In Israel, as well as a number of other countries this fruit is actually a commercial crop. Most of the fruit (in Israel) ripens within a short two-week period, in the summer, typically in mid-July to mid-August. But, due to arid desert conditions in parts of Israel cactus pears can be harvested ten months a year.