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Prickly Pears and Tequila


In the garden In the kitchen

This is an older post worth bringing around again, especially if you're looking for Christmas presents and have access to prickly pears.

I planted my cactus about 2 years ago. It seemed fine until this summer and it just took off. Fresh new paddles for eating as a vegetable were harvested all year but more dramatic were all the prickly pears, or tunas.


They were good about ripening in stages until recently. All of a sudden they seem swollen and ready to pick, or risk having them split and rot.


Several years ago, I discovered you can take ripe fruit and add it to a mason jar of tequila with a spoonful of sugar and make a fine little drink. You let it sit for a week, agitating daily and then pour it into shot glasses for a nice aperitif. I'd been successful with pears and peaches and thought, what the heck, I'll try it with some puree from the tunas.


After burning off the spines, I scooped out the flesh and added it to a blender with just enough water to make the blades run smoothly. A quick trip through the food mill and then about a ladle full into clean mason jars. I finished with the least expensive 100% agave tequila I could find (in this case Hornitos brand), added a spoonful of sugar and that was it.

The tunas have a subtle tropical melon flavor. I just think it's great that what basically is a weed can produce so much with so little effort. I think this would make a great Christmas gift.


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