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!