About Prickly Pears
The prickly pear is the fruit of a cactus, aptly named for its pear-like shape and the short needles embedded in its skin. It's flavor is sweet, but somewhat bland and mildly reminiscent of watermelon, but with a softer texture.
There are a couple of color varieties available: green with pinkish-orange flesh and plum-red with vibrant magenta flesh.
You'll find prickly pears in the market from early fall through winter, and into spring. Choose fruit that is firm but yields to gentle pressure. Ripe prickly pears can be stored in the refrigerator for about 5 days.
To prepare, peel the fruit (you may want to use gloves) and remove the seeds or purée the flesh and strain through a sieve.
How to Use It
Prickly pears are used in fruit salads, jams, sauces and cocktails. The flavor blends nicely with fresh orange. We made a purée and combined it with some good tequila, triple sec and lime for a really beautiful and tasty margarita.
Prickly Pear Margarita
2 ounces blanco tequila
1 ounce triple sec
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce agave nectar
1 ounce prickly pear puree
Lime wedge for garnish
Combine all the ingredients in a mixing glass and shake over ice. Strain into a salt-rimmed margarita glass and garnish with a lime wedge.