How to Make Prickly Pear Juice

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Prickly pears are like the pineapples of the desert -- luscious tropical fruits with a thick rind that takes a little more than simple peeling to break through. If you buy prickly pears in the market, half the sticky work is taken care of; market-form pricklies have their annoying spines removed. To extract the rich, magenta nectar, you must steam or slice the rind away. If you choose the latter method, wear food-handler gloves in case you encounter an errant spine. Protect your work surface and clothes, too. Prickly pear juice stains, similar to beet juice.

Things You'll Need

  • Potato masher or fork
  • Cheesecloth
  • Mesh strainer
  • Rubber spatula or spoon

Manually

Step 1

Rinse the prickly pears and set them in a pot with about 1 inch of water. Bring the water to a simmer and cover; simmer the fruit for 10 minutes.

Step 2

Drain the fruit in a colander and transfer them to a dry pot. Mash the fruit with a potato masher or fork.

Step 3

Transfer the fruit to a large mesh strainer lined with two or three layers of cheesecloth set over a bowl. Drain the juice for several minutes them press the solids with a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon.

Step 4

Squeeze the fruit solids in the cheesecloth and wring the juice from them. Discard the solids and store the juice in a glass airtight container in the refrigerator. You can use a plastic container, but expect it to stain.

Food Processor

Step 1

Rinse the prickly pears and trim about 1/2 inch from the ends. Make a 1/2-inch-deep slice through the skin of the fruit, from top to bottom.

Step 2

Grasp the skin where you made the incision and peel it off the fruit; it should come away in one piece.

Step 3

Roughly chop the flesh and transfer it to a food processor. Puree the fruit until liquified, about 2 minutes on high.

Step 4

Strain the juice through strainer lined with two or three layers of cheesecloth set over a bowl. Press on the fruit solids with the back of a spoon or rubber spatula. Transfer the juice to a glass storage container and store it in the refrigerator.

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