An item frequently seen on South Texas restaurant menus these days is Prickly Pear Lemonade. I have ordered this drink a few times. I’ve not noticed the prickly pear adds much flavor but it certainly seems to add a beautiful pink color. Something like this…

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Last September we were in Junction TX at the South Llano River State Park just as the prickly pears were ripe. Prickly pear cactus grows thick all over this part of Texas. Anyway, I had the clever idea to harvest a few prickly pears and make some  lemonade. I read that when the fruit is ripe it no longer has thorns. Nevertheless you are cautioned to wear leather gloves and pick the fruit with tongs. Afterwards you clean the fruit and freeze it. Freezing changes the texture of the fruit so that it can be easily scooped out of it’s shell, in a soft, seedy pulp. I harvested 8 or 10 of the fruit, froze them, collected the pulp in a fine seive and ended up with about an eighth of a teaspoon of prickly pear juice! How many hundreds of prickly pears would you need to make a pitcher of lemonade??

Last night we were again in Junction TX. The prickly pears were ripening. This time I just harvested some photos. Much easier.

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