How to Get Juiced on Cactus

I remember watching the Flintstones when I was a kid and seeing Fred frequently quaff something called cactus juice. Little did I know you really can make a beverage from cactus fruits. This is the time of year when the prickly pears ripen. They grow all over the place in Austin and can be found at almost any grocery store for give-away prices. Prickly pears are packed with flavour & minerals but have hardly any calories. I think I am addicted to this perfect summer treat.

Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit
Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit

Recipe follows the break

This is my take on the traditional agua fresca.

Cactus Juice

Ingredients

4 or 5 prickly pears

juice from 2 limes

1 cup or more or less of any fruit (melon, cherries, berries, pineapple etc)
I just use whatever fruit is handy or needs to be used up.

Enough water to just cover the fruit in a blender

Preparation

To prepare the prickly pear begin by removing the skin or cutting the fruit in half and scooping out the fruit with a spoon. Be wary. Even if you do not see any visible prickles there can be tiny irritating spines called glochids that can cause some discomfort. You can avoid them by wearing gloves when handling the outside of the fruit. If you do get the glochids embedded into your skin you can use white glue to remove them. Just smear the glue on, let it dry and then pull the dried glue up. I haven’t tried this myself but people swear it works.

prickly pear cut
a prickly pear cut in half

Put the prickly pear pulp (not the skins) into a blender and just cover the fruit with some water. Blend it until smooth. Strain this liquid to remove the seeds.

Put the strained prickly pear back into the blender, add the companion fruit and lime juice and blend it up a second time.

Serving Suggestions

I fill a glass with ice, pour in some cactus juice to the halfway point and top with ginger ale or club soda. If the sugar and sodium in the soda is a concern it also tastes fine just cut with cold water.

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14 thoughts on “How to Get Juiced on Cactus

  1. Local Tex-Mex restaurants also make a mean “prickly pear” margarita with juice from cacti fruit and the color imparted is almost as great as the flavor! Just in case you like your superfoods with a little kick to them.

    I hadn’t heard about the glue trick – I’ve usually relied on duct tape but it works on the same principle I suppose – trap the spine and peel away. Glue sounds even easier and I’m moving a small bottle of Elmer’s over to keep with my gardening gloves right now.

    {Don’t mean to sound know-it-all but it is aGua fresca, not aqua fresca. They sound so similar when pronounced (and are spelled so closely) anybody would understand exactly what you meant if you ordered in a restaurant or used the term in conversation but you are such a word smith I thought you’d want to know.}

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    1. Oh, Tina. Try them (assuming you don’t have any allergies). The colour is amazing and the flavour is mild but nice. I want to try making some jelly next. Not only refreshing but they may be kind of a superfood with all kinds of nice health benefits.

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  2. Sounds delightful. I’m thinking though, I’m allergic to tequilla (don’t ask), from the agave plant, I believe. Perhaps it would be better if I stayed away from this one. Although I love the idea of spreading glue around…

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