Prickly Pear Juice Recipe (Cactus Fruit)

Prickly Pear Juice Recipe (Cactus Fruit) Recipe

Prickly pears are the fruit of the nopales cactus plant. They're named for their pear-like shape and size. The texture and aroma of the fruit is very similar to grainy watermelon, with a mild sweetness. The seeds from the prickly pears look the same as the ones from kiwis.

This weekend, my father-in-law (I call him Daddy), my husband Lulu and I were sitting on the swing in the garden. Daddy noticed the fruit on the cactus plants in the corner of our garden. When we got closer we realized that the prickly pears were fully ripe. Daddy got so excited that I didn't have time to run and get leather gardening gloves; he just picked the fruit with his bare hands. Poor Daddy! I had to spend quite a bit of time to remove all of the almost invisible hair-thin spines.

We were able to gather a fair amount of ripe fruit. Even though the fruit is quite bland, the flesh has a very rich color. I used some for making vinaigrette and with the rest I made little cocktails with raspberries. I placed fresh raspberries in the freezer and used them as ice cubes to chill the drink. If you can get your hands on some prickly pears at your local market, give them a try. They're a wonderful treat.

Prickly Pear Recipe with Picture


Yields: 2 servings

4 fresh prickly pears
1 cup ice cubes
2 limes, freshly squeezed
1 (1-inch) chunk fresh ginger
1 tablespoon agave nectar (or honey)
2 tablespoons raspberry syrup
1 cup water, chilled
½ cup raspberries, placed in the freezer for at least 1 hour


Fill a small pitcher with ice cubes. Set aside.

For the ginger juice: Clean the ginger and remove any dirt. Peel the ginger root with a paring knife (or the edge of a spoon). Grate the ginger with a fine mesh microplane. Gather about 2 teaspoons of grated ginger root. Set aside.

For the prickly pear purée:

Note: Don't forget to wear leather gloves; learn from my father-in-law's mistake! 

Trim the ends. Using a paring knife, slit open the fruit lengthwise and peel the skin apart.

Coarsely chop the flesh and mash it using the back of a fork or a potato masher.

Assembly time:

Squeeze all the juice from the grated ginger and the prickly pear using a cheesecloth. Filter the juice through a fine-mesh strainer. Discard any solids (seeds).

Remove the ice cubes from the pitcher. Fill it with the gathered juice. Add lime juice, agave nectar, raspberry syrup and chilled water. Stir well.

Fill 2 glasses with frozen raspberries and add the prickly pear juice.



Agave nectar is made out of the purified sap of cactus-like desert plants. You can find it in specialty stores such as Whole Foods and in many regular grocery stores.

I used Monin brand raspberry syrup.

For an adult version, you could add a shot of Tequila.

Prickly Pear Cactus Juice Recipe with Picture
Look for soft, ripe fruit; the softness is similar to apricots.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on October 11, 2010.


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