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Prickly Pear Juice

Prickly pear juice is nothing but the juice extracted from the needle-bearing fruit, the prickly pear.
Priya Johnson Mar 12, 2019
Found in parts of Europe, southwestern United States, Mediterranean nations, Africa, and northern Mexico, prickly pears belong to the cactus family. The prickly pear cactus is recorded to have been consumed way back in the 1500s, when the Native Americans celebrated their prickly pear harvest.
The prickly pear cactus features large, flat, fleshy pads resembling large leaves with functions of photosynthesis, water storage and flower production. Like other cacti, these plants have large and small spines on them. The fruits of these plants are brilliant magenta colored, covered in spines of different sizes. No wonder they are called 'prickly pears'.
Prickly pear is widely cultivated and harvested to make jellies, juices, alcoholic beverages, teas, and candies. Here we will only focus on prickly pear juice.

Prickly Pear Juice Benefits

Prickly pears come in various sizes and sweetness levels. Those with purplish skin and deep purple interiors are said to be the sweetest. However, in Mexico the white-skinned varieties are more popular. Some describe prickly pears to taste something like a cross between a watermelon and a fig.
However, besides a wonderful, refreshing taste, this needle-bearing fruit has a lot of health benefits. Rich in flavonoids, its antioxidant properties help boost the body's immune system. Moreover, consumption of this fruit is seen to reduce post exercise muscle soreness, and reduce the chances of developing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
Prickly pear juice also helps deal with hangovers. Drinking a teaspoon of this juice before the night out helps reduce the intensity of a hangover.

How to Make Prickly Pear Juice

Now that we have heard of all the benefits, how do we tap them? Since most supermarkets do not keep this juice, it's best to prepare it at home itself.
Preparation Procedure
To make this juice, get hold of a metal tong to pluck the fruit from the flat pads. Don't go harvesting with rubber gloves on, lest you want to be pierced! Once you pluck enough ripe fruits, take them home and rinse to get off the dirt. Placing the fruits in a large bowl of cold water will get rid of some, but not all of the spines.
Using the tong, transfer the fruits into the blender and blend till it enters the liquid form. Now pour this liquid into a fine mesh strainer and strain the liquid. All the seeds and spines will remain in the mesh itself, giving you clear prickly pear juice. It can be consumed as it is or even added to syrups, jellies, drinks, etc.

Recipes with Prickly Pear Juice

The preparation procedure was just the foundation step. Using this juice, one can prepare many more interesting beverages and syrups. Let's take a look at them.

Prickly Pear Margarita

Ingredients Required
  • 3 oz. prickly pear juice
  • 3 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3 oz. frozen limeade
  • 3½ cups crushed ice
  • 6 Tequila
  • 4½ oz. Cointreau
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
Preparation Procedure
Blend all the mentioned ingredients in a blender. Once the ice completely blends with the other ingredients, you will have a refreshing, pink-colored drink ready for you and your family to sip! The color of the margarita is simply marvelously refreshing!

Prickly Pear Syrup

Ingredients Required
  • 2½ cups prickly pear juice
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • ¾ box pectin
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
Preparation Procedure
To prepare prickly pear syrup, pour the juice and lemon juice into a saucepan. Add the pectin to it and heat till the mixture comes to a boil. Now, add the sugar and continue boiling till the liquid mixture thickens to a viscous consistency. Pour them into air-tight jars and store them.
Prickly pear juice can also be used to prepare jellies, prickly pear butter, prickly pear preserves, cocktails, etc. Although easy to prepare, one should not forget to take necessary safety precautions while handling these fruits. Deal with the fruit correctly and enjoy its flavor and health benefits!