Get your tongs out because today we are going to learn how to harvest prickly pear! The picture to the right shows prickly pear cactus and the pinkish bulbs you see growing on top are the fruit.
Once you harvest the fruit you can press the juice out to make a variety of prickly pear flavored items. But the question is….how do you harvest this fruit that is covered with cactus needles?! And second question…how do you not hurt yourself trying?! Well my friends this is where the tongs come into play and maybe a pair of gloves.
The bulbs easily come off once you pull them off with the tongs and I would suggest putting them all in a bucket. There will still be fine needles on the fruit bulbs – so be cautious of that, hence the gloves and bucket. Once you get your load home rinse and wash the bulbs off and get out the blender and/or food processor. You are going to throw the entire bulb into your blender/food processor with the little needles on it and all. I know it seems weird not to pluck them out, but once it is well blended you are going to strain the juice thru a tee-shirt or a pillowcase. You don’t want to use cheese cloth because the little needles will still somehow find their way thru. So using something thicker will do the trick.
And then viola! You have prickly pear juice! You can use this juice to make prickly pear syrup to add to onto pancakes, lemonade, margarita’s and anything else you can think of! For some fun recipes click here for some ideas found on Pinterest.