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February 22, 2011

Prickly Pear Lemonade and Jelly

The prickly pears are a sight to behold when they are ripe on the leaves. As flowers they are spectacular too.  The cactus is found in all of the desserts of the American Southwest and Mexico. Cultivated in some farms and sold in local markets as Tunas, the Mexicans call it. Even here around where I live, they grow in the backyards or outside the fences. They can be prepared in so many ways like syrup, jelly, candy,popsicle or even for margaritas. Well, today we shall make lemonade and jelly for you.

Here's how to peel the beautiful fruit safely without any thorns on the side. The prickly pear has almost invisible thorns that break off and lodge on to your skin and can be quite irritating. Use rubber gloves or tongs to peel the fruit. Cut both ends and split the thick skin on one side and pry open and scoop the inside fruit and discard the peel right away. 

This bright magenta colored fruit can be very sweet to almost bland but always so fresh and juicy. 

The tuna is full of seeds that are edible but too hard to chew. So hard, they can ruin you tooth if your not careful. I think they are best enjoyed juicing them. You can easily extract the juice by pulsing them in a blender quickly and strain the seeds. I got a tall glass and a half of juice from 10 tunas. For the refreshing  lemonade, squeeze half a lemon and lime into a glass of tuna juice and sweeten with muscovado sugar.

This drink is so good and refreshing, you've got to try it!

For the jelly just add a tablespoon of agar agar and sugar to 1 cup of water and boil until all is completely dissolved. Remove from flame and add 2 cups of tuna juice, half of lemon and lime juice. Put into molds, cool and serve. I got some of the cactus leaves and carved some iguanas for accompaniment. Enjoy!





25 comments:

  1. Beautiful jelly. I always see prickly pear in the market but not buy them, I have to now. love your Iguanas. Lemonade is awesome.

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  2. I love prickly pears, we used to have some in the garden in Zimbabwe. I don't think I have ever seen them for sale even in the UK!!
    The iguanas are fantastic, the perfect medium to show them off. Diane

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  3. Very very beatuful!!!!!!! Bravissimo Michelangelo!!!

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  4. Siempre los he comido pelándolos y nada más, pero qué buena idea pasarlos por la licuadora o en gelatina, debe quedar delicioso.

    Y lo de las hojas, como siempre, genial

    Un fuerte abrazo

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  5. Delightful drink and jelly.
    Prickly pears are very hard to find in flower but you go to me beloved Algarve in Portugal you can see them roundabout April, May time.
    There are Mediterranean-type flowers everywhere, figs, sugar canes, carobs, orange trees, pomegranates, and prickly-pear cactus. There is blossom even in winter!!
    Great work ♥

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  6. I love the iguanas!
    I have often heard of the jelly- but never of the Lemonade. Someday, perhaps, I will have an opportunity to try it. Until then, thank you for a vicarious adventure in foods.

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  7. Fabuleux, fantastique, j'adore

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  8. You know that I´m from México, so, this recipe whit the tunas...is my favorite recipe :D

    Beautiful, and full of flavor...and the sculture whit nopales...are sooo wonderful!!

    I repeat, but you are a incredible cooking artist!

    :D

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  9. I happen to be fond if iguanas... love them. The pirckly pear intrigues - all that juice and rich color. Funny how such inviting foods also have a component (the seeds) that does not entice!

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  10. Que el color de las tunas es fantastico! No las conocía, voy a ver si las encuentro.

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  11. Sempre bravissimo Michelangelo!!

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  12. amazing decoration on the last picture!

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  13. Que increíble fruta!!!.... el color me ha encantado, yo sólo las conocía de color verde, dan ganas de tomar de ese jugo, en cuanto a los caimanes te han quedado fabulosos. Felicidades, muy bonitos, te pasaré a ver de vez en cuando.
    Cariños.

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  14. On holiday in Spain, I've seen prickly pears growing at the side of the road but wasn't sure if they were edible. I'll know next time to pick them (carefully) and juice them for a margarita or those beautiful jellys. Cool iguanas!

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  15. you know, i havnet seen a prickly pear in my life..i'm just curious about the taste of it. iguanas on the plate..i'm going to stay away from that plate..they look too real!

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  16. Never knew prickly pears can go long way to an elegant dish like this one!!!! Its absolutely baeutiful!!!

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  17. Aquí a esta fruta la conocemos como chumbo, me ha encantando lo que has hecho con las pieles! Claro que las dos recetitas también, es una fruta especialmente rica.
    Un abrazo.

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  18. We eat them too in Lebanon just fresh and they get sold at street carts but I have never seen them juiced or made into jellies; this is an extraordinary creation, love love love that iguana~

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  19. The drink is so refreshing and beautiful, as are your gorgeous iguanas...masterful! I love these jellies and what a wonderful fruit to use, thank you for the handling tips as I have not wrestled with these delights fresh :)

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  20. OMG I love these is my first time I see!! look nice!!! gloria

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  21. I always leave with their mouths open, all your recipes are wonderful
    thousand besossss

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  22. Beautiful sculptures!!....they look very real....I love tunas, but always I try them fresh or in juice.....I have to try that jelly......Abrazotes, Marcela

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  23. We have several species of prickly pears in the wild around here, but I have not a clue if all are edible. Anyway I'm keeping this post on favourites just in case. :-) Have never tried juice or jelly not even in Mexico. The iguanas were quite a surprise, fantastic!

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  24. This is different. Very Nice. Never had them as lemonade before. Great idea! Especially love those iguanas!

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Art is in the Kitchen

Art is in the Kitchen
Arthur Escoto

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Napa, California, United States