A few months ago I experienced my first prickly pear margarita in San Antonio with a friend who was visiting from Ohio. As we sat on the riverwalk, we both savored the flavor of the best margarita this side of the Mexico border.
Afterwards, she sent me a surprise - a bottle of prickly pear syrup bought on the internets. So I've been able to enjoy, and share these marvelous margaritas with friends.
Yesterday, as on many afternoons, SAM and I went for a walk along the wooded trails behind our property. There are fields and fields of prickly pear cactus. Their fruit are turning purple. I've been hatching the idea to pick a few and take a stab at making my own prickly pear syrup.
But how? I've never even held one of those purple pods in my hand. When to pick? When is the peak ripeness of a purple prickly pear pod? How to get the pulp out without ending up with prickly fingers? How many pods do I need to make one margarita? How many pears does Peter Piper need to pick?
I don't know the answers to any of these questions. But I'm making it my (procrastination task of the day) quest. Insurance claims and therapy paychecks be damned!
At this stage I've learned that the pulp of the prickly pear is nutritious, containing lots of Vitamin C.
And that it can be used as a laxative and as a first aid salve, similar to aloe vera. But I haven't learned how to make the syrup.
Wikihow says to make a prickly pear margarita using cactus "infused" tequila. That's no help.
If you, dear reader, are a prickly pear expert who happened upon my blog, I'd be eternally grateful for any and all suggestions.
Now to remember to take my camera along on my next walk and share the view.
Update: Rachel from RachelsTinyFarm gives instruction on freezing the pear pods as a means of extracting the juice finger prick free.