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Prickly Pear Cactus Cooler

Posted Feb 22 2010 3:50pm

On the heels of my last post Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit, I’ve learned a little more about this desert fruit. Its outer skin range in color from light green to purple-red, and its flesh ranges from a light yellow-green, to deep golden, to red.

A few days ago I posted a link Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit on Raw Epicurean’s Facebook page. Between then and now, I updated the site. Unfortunately there were a few glitches and I lost that post along with comments [apologies]. I’ve re-posted Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit. On the initial posted link on Facebook, some of our reader’s share their experience, tips, suggestions, and a recipe, which I would like to share with you here:

I was surprised to learn from Agatha that prickly pear grow abundant in the Southern region of Italy! I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for this cactus fruit next time I travel to The Boot area.

Prickly pear grows in South Africa too, as Laura shared with us that she ate her fill of it as a kid growing up there.

Katie tempted my curiousity with the thought of a Prickly Pear Margarita! I know, I know that wouldn’t fall under the category of raw, but …. and Marcie had one in Sedona and raves it was the best margarita she’s ever had! [Now I must try it, just once. ;-)]

Viviana reminds us the prickly pear is also known as “tunas”.

Lori’s aunt made a wonderful jelly from it.

Pat and Sam share with us that it controls blood sugar levels. Good to know.

I wish I could visit Justina’s Tiki Farm where she grows them.

I agree with Delicia, using gloves is another option to avoid getting pricked by the pear and when handling it.

Tips on handling this prickly pear

John suggests “burning the prickers off as an the easiest way using a lighter, they burn quickly, and it doesn’t damage the fruit.” Ok, that sound fisible. Don’t try this a home, alone, if you are a minor!

Also, I’d like to share a tip from Naomi, a Raw Epicurean readers, whom suggests an ease way peel prickly cactus pear safely. Thanks for the tip!

Cut off ends a little less than a centimeter in. Then make a slice from one end to the other only going through the top layer/peel as if you were going through the skin of an orange. Now dig your fingers between the slice and peel down around the fruit. The fruit will separate pretty easily from the peel. Once you get the hang of this it’s pretty easy to avoid the clusters of globins (we call em “picas” cause it picas your hands like spicy jalapenos).

Prickly Pear Cactus Cooler

Just look at that gorgeous color. The recipe is simple to make, has an absolutely beautiful color, is subtle in taste, and refreshing. The inside of a prickly pear is scattered with black seeds. When making this drink, I peeled the pear cactus and roughly cut it into big chunks, then added the chunks, seeds included, to the blender. However, you could de-seed it first, otherwise blend and strain the juice through a strainer to catch all the seeds and seed particles.

2 red prickly pear cactus, washed and peeled
1 1/2 cups filtered water
2 tablespoons lime juice, fresh squeezed
1-2 tablespoons organic raw blue agave, or to taste

Blend all ingredients in a blender. Pour the juice through a strainer to remove any seeds.

Serve at room temperature or chilled. Garnish with a wedge of lime.

Serves 2

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