Saturday, September 27, 2014

Prickly Pear Lemonade

While the dog days of summer are nearly behind us, one can still use a refreshing drink to help cool down after a hot afternoon gardening in the sun.  Now is the time of year when the prickly pears are in season, so why not make some prickly pear lemonade?

None of the spineless opuntias that I planted this year produced any fruit, so I had to scavenge for some fruit in the parks around my house.  Hopefully next year I can use the fruit from my own plants.

Make sure that you pick the nice ripe fruit that are a deep magenta color.

Be sure to use tongs to pick the fruit.  The outer skin of the fruit has fine little prickly hairs that hurt quite a bit if they poke you.  I made sure to also wear rubber gloves when I washed and cut the fruit so that I didn't get pricked.  However, a few of the fine hairs pierced their way through the rubber gloves and I still had to use some tweezers to pick them out of my fingers.  I can only imagine what would have happened if I did it bare-handed!

Next, rinse the fruit.  I then cut off the ends of the fruit and peeled away the outer layer of skin.  You will be left with the bright magenta and seedy fruit on the inside, like this:

I have a juicer, so I then juiced the fruit.  If you don't have a juicer, you can juice the fruit in a blender and strain the juice from the pulp with cheesecloth.

For each Prickly Pear Lemonade drink serving, I used the following ingredients:

  • Juice from 2 prickly pears
  • Juice from 2 lemons (or limes if you want to do a limeade or margarita)
  • About 1 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • Hand full of ice
  • Optional - Splash of vodka or tequila for the adult drink version
Adjust to taste.  Shake all ingredients in a shaker and serve.  Cheers!


  1. A gorgeous drink that is every bit as delicious as it looks. If it weren't for those spines I bet every opuntia in Texas would be stripped bare once folks found out how wonderful they taste!

    1. Yes, quite the defense they put up! Next time around, I need some better gloves for handling. I'm still getting pricked by the spines that got stuck in my rubber gloves.

  2. Delicious! I discovered tunas this year and fast became addicted. I don't add any sweetener just a handful of fruit though.

    1. Agreed - Last year I had a Prickly Pear margarita when it was in season at a local restaurant and was inspired to make my own this year. Hopefully next year I can make it with opuntias from my own garden.