If you purchase fresh prickly pear that still contains stickers, you will need to carefully remove the spines.
Using the pads
After carefully trimming the stickers away, the pad can be peeled and prepared for cooking as you would cook a vegetable. Popular techniques include broiling or sauteing, or chopping it raw and adding it to soups and salads. Once heated, the pads tend to become gooey, acquiring a texture similar to that of okra. Avoid overcooking so they don't become too slimy.
Using the fruits
Generally, prickly pears are peeled by making a slit in the skin and peeling it away or sectioned lengthwise, allowing for ease of removing the skin and seeds before serving the fruit. It can be enjoyed chilled or served at room temperature. The fruit is a popular dessert ingredient, so it is often served in salads, baked in breads and pastries, made into jellies, jams, and candy, and pureed for use in beverages.