Okay so I have a surprisingly versatile syrup to show you, if you haven’t jumped on the prickly pear band wagon yet, be prepared for a new favorite flavor, it is so delicious you will be trying to figure out new places to put this stuff. It has a mild watermelon /bubblegum flavor and the color is just out of this world. It adds beautiful magenta hue to anything you put it in. My next post after the syrup will be Prickly Pear Kombucha, but it makes a MEAN Margarita!!! Also watch for prickly pear lemonade, italian sodas and yes…even prickly pear vinaigrette! I will post recipes for these soon so check back!
I picked these up at a local market here in Colorado, but I know that prickly pads are very easy to grow and produce quite a few pears once mature, so if you are lucky enough to have a patch of the versatile cactus or a neighbor that does you could even harvest your own, but Please wear gloves if you are self harvesting! I have even gotten a few little cactus spine in my hand from the cleaned ones at the market so be cautious!
Fist thing about this recipe…you need some prickly pears, if you can find a good deal on them don’t be afraid to pick up quite a few as they have a very long shelf life in the refrigerator. This recipe will make approximately a pint’s worth of the syrup. And you can store it in the refrigerator for about a month!
You will need:
4 med or large or (6 small) cactus pears
2 lemons (you need to add acid to cactus pears to bring out that flavor!, you could alternately use lime or just citric acid)
about 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
fine mesh sieve or strainer (possibly a coffee filter tea towel or paper towel to further filter)
Okay here are the steps
Cut Pears in half and scoop out seedy flesh with a spoon. Place flesh in sauce pan and discard the thick skin.
the pulp is easy to remove with a spoon.
You can discard the skin, Im not sure if you could use this for another purpose or not, so I just toss it.
cover with about 1/2 cup of water and mash fruit with potato masher or fork.
I use two lemons in my syrup, I put one lemon in the syrup as its cooking and use the juice from one after its finished cooking.
side note, don’t you just hate when this happens??? perfectly nice looking lemon on the outside….
Rotten on the inside! Yuck, don’t use them if they look like this. Good thing I had a few extra on hand.
Add your sugar and lemons and then simmer on medium until it gets a little frothy.
Perfect… this takes only about 10 minutes or so and then you can strain it.
Using a fine mesh sieve, strain into the jar or bottle you are using. Good ol’ canning jars work great!
I use a silicone spatula to press the pulp and then I discard it as my sieve gets full.
At this point I add the other fresh lemon to the syrup and if you want a more clear syrup you can take and filter it with a coffee filter or paper towel into a different jar now.
And your syrup is ready for what ever destination you decide ENJOY!!!
Prickly Pear Syrup
4 medium or large (or about 6 small) cactus pears
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
Cut prickly pears in half and scoop out pulp with a spoon. Place fruit pulp in a small sauce pan, cover with water and add one cut lemon and sugar. Simmer on medium heat until frothy. Mash fruit pulp with potato masher. Strain into a jar using a fine mesh sieve. Add juice of other lemon into syrup. Enjoy the versatility of this yummy syrup!