Sunday, September 7, 2014

Prickly Pear Lemonade

Today, we "leveled up" as "Arizonians". We are now on the level that involves eating a cactus fruit and making a lemonade out of it! Here's how it went:

It started when we got our Bountiful Basket on Saturday. Above is what the basket consisted of this week. As you can see, there are lots of lemons - and when your basket gives you lemons, you make lemonade! ;) 

Right in the front of the pile though, you will see the 4 roundish green things - those are prickly pear cactus fruits. We've seen them in the desert, either growing on the cacti or the remains on the ground after a javelina had feasted on them. Now, we had 4 prickly pear fruit - what were we supposed to do with them?!

At first we thought we had to wait until they turned red for them to be ripe, but learned that they come in both red and green. They are ripe when they are firm, if they become squishy or start to yellow then they are becoming overripe. They came with the thorns all removed, so we didn't have to worry about being attacked by our fruits. We learned about all the best uses for them, and decided to juice them and add them to our lemonade.

When they are ripe, the rind is very easy to remove - you just chop off either end and then make a slit down the side, and you can simply use your fingers to pull off the rind and it comes clean off! The fruit tastes sweet but has many hard seeds on the inside. After chopping it up, we threw it in my Vitamix and blended it into juice. 

The bowl on the left is the prickly pear, the right one is the lemon juice. We blended them both thoroughly and then Curtis did a great job straining the juices and getting rid of all those seeds. We then made lemonade without the prickly pear, and then when pouring glasses of lemonade we would add in the prickly pear juice.

Finished product! The cactus has a distinct taste that overpowered the lemonade. I liked it best when Curtis added a little rum… :)

Recipe for our Cactus Lemonade!
1.5 cups fresh Lemon juice
5 cups water
1 cup sugar
juice of 4 prickly pear fruits
Mix first 3 together and pour into glass (about ½ to ¾ of the way full) then fill the rest of the glass with some prickly pear juice.
If the prickly pear taste is too strong, rum helps, but only if you are of legal drinking age. 

Being an Arizonian is fun! :)

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