Photo by Rosminah Brown

Prickly Pear Syrup


1 cup prickly pear juice

112 cups granulated sugar

Try 6 prickly pears to start. The amount of juice will vary according to variety and size of the pear. Red prickly pears are usually sweet but some yellow and green varieties are also sweet when ripe. Wear long heavy gloves, do not wear sandals, and use tongs to pick the fruit.

Use a torch or hold the fruit over the flame on a gas stove to burn off any remaining thorns. Peel away skin and cut the fruit into quarters.

Spin the fruit in a blender. Add water if needed to get it spinning. Pour into a strainer. Do not press the pulp. Pour juice through coffee filter to eliminate any remaining debris. If you end up with more or less than a cup, adjust the sugar to 1½ times the volume of the juice. Stir juice and sugar together. Heat on stove until the sugar dissolves and mixture is clear. The syrup will have a somewhat stringy texture. That’s normal.

Chill. Stir syrup into lemonade, soda water, kombucha or sparkling wine for a refreshing beverage. The color is stunning and the delicate flavor is similar to melon.