Tag Archives: prickly pears

Recipe: Prickly Pear Marinara

Anyone who has eaten fresh prickly pears can tell you, despite their juicyness, theirs is a delicate sweetness.

Much like tomatoes, in a way.

We’ve been experimenting with producing different sauces, and syrups, with prickly pears for a long time, on our Wild Pizzas and as a glaze and barbecue sauce with wild game. We’ve found that they can really take on a variety of flavors, similar to tomatoes in many traditional recipes.

Ingredients:

peeled, seeded prickly pears (crushed)

prickly pear juice

oregano

basil

lime juice

salt/pepper

dill weed

This recipe is designed to mimic a traditional marinara sauce, for use in Italian style dishes, or on pizza. The fresh cactus pears are excellent at absorbing savory flavors and their light sweetness compliments these sauces in much the same way as ripe tomatoes usually will.

The key ingredients are strained prickly pear juice and several peeled, de-seeded prickly pears. Producing the juice is extremely simple, however skinning and removing the seeds from the whole prickly pears can be time consuming work.

To make the juice, place several whole prickly pears in a large potand cover with water, then boil for about 20-25 minutes, until softened. Afterwards, using a potato masher or other utensil, pulverize the cactus pears in the pot until thouroughly mashed. Next boil them for another 30 minutes and then strain, first through a colander and then a cheese cloth. This method denatures the sharp spines, and enables the pulp and seeds, as well as any spines or glochids, to be removed without having to struggle with them.

Peeling the whole prickly pears and removing the seeds has no easy short-cut though, and is longest part of this process. Remove the tops and bottoms from the pears with a sharp knife and then slice each in half. The seeds can then be scooped out of the centers, and the skins peeled off the fruit using the knife. After which, both the whole fruits and juice can be combined in a large pot with all of the seasonings and brought to a simmer.

After the mixture begins to boil, and the prickly pears halves start to break down, they can be crushed using a mallet, spoon or immersion blender. The entire sauce should then be allowed to further reduce down, and seasoning adjusted for taste. Once the desired thickness is achieved, remove the sauce from heat and add the juice of 1-2 limes  before transferring the sauce to jars for storage.

We’ve had so much success with these prickly pear – tomato substitutions. I challenge anyone to come up with a recipe where you couldn’t swap the two out wholesale. Their mild flavor and absorbtion, along with their A-MAZING color, are making them more and more my go-to for all kinds of sauces.

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Recipe: Wild P B J

Nearly everyone loves the classic American combination of peanut butter and grape jelly, in sandwich form.

However, peanuts don’t grow in the wilds of Texas, and grape jelly is loaded with sugar – not exactly the healthiest of indulgences. Fortunately there is another fantastic, native, gustatory combination that exists, with every bit of magical pizazz as a traditional peanut butter and jelly combination, but amazingly, in an infinately healthier, and guilt-free form.

Presenting, the majestic mesquite-butter and prickly pear jelly sandwich! This “mesquite butter” is created from reduced mesquite oil, with emulsified cream and other spices. Our prickly pear jelly is produced using a low-sugar/sugar-free pectin.

After producing Mesquite Flour, the left over chaff) is perfect for using to make mesquite jelly, or rendering into refined mesquite oil. After reduction, and chilling, this oil takes on a glutinous, almost syrupy quality. When whipped with cream (or butter) and spices, what is created is a wonderful, delicious spread with a host of applications!

Ingredients:

1-2 cups refined mesquite oil (produced from several cups mesquite chaff)

1/2 stick of butter

OR

~ 1 cup of heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon of salt

Additional spices can include: cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and possibly orange zest or ginger

 

After rendering the mesquite oil, the process of combining it with butter or heavy cream is relatively simple. Should enough of the oil be produced, and allowed to reduce and chill enough, it is possible the addition of butter or cream could be omitted. Although, a small amount of low-sugar pectin may need to be added.

To blend the butter or cream into the mesquite oil, use an immersion blender to emulsify the fats along with the oil in a tall glass, or other container. Afterwards, the desired spices can be folded in.

To produce  the prickly pear jelly, juice several fresh prickly pears in the same manner as with the Prickly Pear Marinara recipe. After straining, add low-sugar pectin to the juice and bring to a boil for 10 minutes, while stirring constantly to avoid scorching the mixture.

The jelly will need to set overnight in the refridgerator, but on the next day, you’ll have one of the most wonderful wild treats we’ve come up with waiting for you.