>U Mom Knows Best: How To Make Homemade Prickly Pear Syrup

Monday, September 14, 2020

How To Make Homemade Prickly Pear Syrup

 Prickly pears are colorful and loaded with flavor. The fruit can be used to make a simple syrup that is great in drinks and other recipes.

 This past month, I have been busy picking prickly pears and I have an abundance of the sweet delicious hot pink fruits in my freezer. I am addicted to all things prickly pear right now as I just discovered how easy it is to harvest these purple fruits. I live in the desert of New Mexico and my neighborhood has plenty of prickly pear cactus plants. The cactus this year seems to have more prickly pears than usual and I for the first time decided to pick the purple magenta fruits. It also seems that nobody else is picking the purple pears from the cactus plants so I am on a mission to not let these fruits go to waste. As long as I have freezer space for the prickly pears, I will continue to harvest them. These colorful fruits from the prickly pear plant are delicious in smoothies and many recipes like prickly pear syrup. If you don't live in the desert and want to try prickly pears, you can find them at grocery stores in the produce section.

What is prickly pear fruit?

 Prickly pear is the common name of a cactus that is native to New Mexico and other southwestern states. The edible fruit is a result of the cactus flower. These hot pink fruits have a sweet taste that is similar to watermelon and a texture that is like a kiwi or a cucumber. They are so delicious and I love to eat them fresh and in my morning smoothie.

 If you want to learn about how to harvest the prickly pears from the prickly pear cactus plant then head over here as this article has plenty of good information. This prickly pear harvesting article has everything that you will need to know from picking the fruits to getting them ready to freeze. It even has a unique, painless way to get the tiny spikes called glochids off the prickly pear fruits so you don't end up with them in your fingers. Once you see how easy it is to harvest prickly pear fruits, you too will have an obsession with prickly pears.

Prickly pears are low in calories and a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, calcium, and antioxidant compounds.

Prickly pears are everywhere

 The area from where I am harvesting the prickly pears is a housing development that has only been there for about 4 years so the prickly pear plants that are growing on the main street are only about three years old. So maybe that is why they are now bursting with fruit. I have noticed the purple pears in past years while out running but never thought to pick them until now. The abundance of prickly pear fruits was just begging to be picked.

 Since my freezers are getting full with the magenta fruits, I am glad that I have two deep freezers, I am exploring new recipes to create with the delicious sweet fruits. I made prickly pear lemonade last week and this week I am making prickly pear syrup. Next week, I will be dehydrating the prickly pears to make prickly pear powder. I will have to even make some prickly pear fruit leather. You need to check out my simple recipe for making fruit leather. These fruits are so delicious that I am going to clear a spot in my yard so I can grow my own prickly pear cactus plants.

What is prickly pear syrup?

 Prickly pear syrup is made from the juice from the prickly pears. The process of getting the juice from the ripe prickly pears is quite simple. After you peel the prickly pears, you place the whole fruit into a blender and blend until smooth. Then you pour the fruit mixture through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the seeds and pulp. What you have left is a delicious sweet purple juice that has a nice watermelon flavor and can be used to make my prickly pear syrup.

The prickly pear syrup can be used in many drinks like Prickly Pear Lemonade and margaritas. It can also be used for pancake syrup and drizzled over ice cream. I like to use the prickly pear syrup in my cold brew ice tea for some awesome flavor. This syrup can also be used to add flavor to smoothies and it adds a nice natural pink color to frosting. You are going to love how easy making this prickly pear syrup is.

Preparing the prickly pears

 To prepare the prickly pears for the prickly pear syrup is quite simple. Ripe prickly pears are so easy to peel. I like to soak the pears in a bowl of water for a couple of minutes. To peel the pears, you will need a knife and a cutting board. Take the knife and slice off both ends of the fruit. Then peel off the outer layer of the fruit. There is no need to remove the seeds as you place the whole fruit into your cooking pan. You will later strain the seeds out of the cooked syrup with a fine mesh strainer.

Tip: To check to see if the prickly pear is ripe before peeling, place it in a bowl of water. If it sinks, it is ripe and ready to eat. If the fruit floats, then give in a couple more days to ripe. I like to place my pears on a baking tray on the countertop for a couple days to further ripen.

Homemade Prickly Pear Syrup

8-10 prickly pears, about 1 1/2 - 2 cups peeled fruit
3 cups of water
1/2 cup sugar

Peel the prepared prickly pears and cut them in half. ~ Check out this article on how to prepare the prickly pears

Add the pears to a pot with the water and sugar.
Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to simmer.
Allow the mixture to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. When the mixture thickens, remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Pour the cooled fruit mixture into a strainer. (Make sure the strainer is over a bowl.)
Use a spoon to press the prickly pear mixture into the strainer to get all of the liquid out. Do this in steps if the mixture does not fit all at once in the strainer. Empty the strainer of the seeds and thick pulp as you won't need this.
Pour the syrup into a container and chill for one hour. Store the prickly pear syrup in the fridge for up to two weeks.


Cristina Petrini said...

You know I've never tasted this fruit and therefore its juice, but your recipe intrigued me so much that I will do it!

Celebrate Woman said...

I've never done this recipe, Tara. You are teaching us to make some amazing foods and drinks here.

Heather said...

I've heard prickly pear is so good. I would love to try this syrup!

Fatima D Torres said...

This is something I've never tried, but my mom genuinely enjoys it. It has an interesting smell.

Tin_Tin said...

Omw! We are from the northern cape in South Africa and would really love to try this as they are available all over. Well done.

Gust si Aroma said...

wow! This sounds so good and so easy to make! I am so curious to make prickly pear syrup at home!

Toni said...

This is great! I didn't know you could get delicious syrup from prickly pear!

Shelley Zurek -- Still Blonde after all these YEARS said...

This is perfection for drinks, as I see you have already discovered.

Mom Knows Best said...

Cool to know that they grow in other parts of the world

Mom Knows Best said...

You are right about the smell as my boys complain about it when I am peeling the pears

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