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Tequila with Prickly Pears (Tunas)


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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