Prickly Pear Syrup: Part I

So this is our big project of the week. We have about a TON of prickly pear cactus on the farm. My mother-in-law came this weekend and wanted to pick some for jelly. So we head out and get to business and collect a ton. Making jelly is not really my thing, but I found some other cool uses for it, so we thought we’d see what we could come up with. It’s turned out the be a beautiful little discovery and I want to share with you because maybe you have a bunch of these babies are too. And maybe you’re overlooking some of their awesomeness. By far, this is the most gorgeous juice I’ve ever laid eyes on and I can’t wait to bottle a ton of it. So, let me give you the ins and outs of how to deal with prickly pears… and why you might be so inclined to do it.

syrup1First, head out into your field or find a good road lined with them. You’ll want to be as covered as possible (jeans, gloves, boots, etc.) so as not to get a million pricks. Bring some tongs and just clamp and give them a little twist. Fill up your bucket.

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Now that you have your stash, you need to get all those pokies off. Burning them is super fun. Just run them over a flame. We did it on the oven. They turn all shiny and the color deepens to the most glorious eggplant color you’ve ever seen. Also, they just won’t burn. I don’t know why, but they don’t.

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Now they are smooth enough to handle. Cut them into quarters.

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Look at how pretty they are inside!

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So, quarter them and chuck them in a pot. If you’re doing a small batch (a couple of 8 oz. cans), you’re going to want about 8 fruits.

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Now cover the fruit with water and steep (almost boiling, but not quite), for about 15 minutes.

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Next, strain out your fruit with a cheese cloth. If you don’t have any cheese cloth, feel free to use a somewhat ugly scarf (thanks anyway, babe, it’s a great strainer! Really fancy!).

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Now add your sugar. Add until it won’t dissolve anymore. It’s alot of sugar. Almost as much as the juice. Sorry about that, it’s the yummy part! Also, squeeze in the juice of  two lemons. Now you’ve got the syrup. We’re not done with this yet, but we’re off to a good start. From here, you can put it in lemonade, tea, or margaritas. It’s the most amazing hot pink you’ve ever seen naturally occurring. It’s loaded with sugar, but it’s also loaded with antioxidants and fiber, so feel better about that. Let’s chat tomorrow about what to do with your prized pink nectar. Here Abby’s drinking it 1/3 ratio of syrup and the rest water, with a squeeze of lemon. It’s crazy good.

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3 Comments on “Prickly Pear Syrup: Part I”

  1. Debbie says:

    I always wondered how you “harvested” and prepared these. Did your mother-in-law make her jelly? The drink sounds (and looks) good – alas I have no cactus to harvest in Pearland.

  2. tiffygator says:

    We have a ton too. It’s been a long time since we’ve harvested them. Do the prickies just burn up or do they fall off when you burn them?


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