One of our favorite Arizona treats is the Prickly Pear cactus. This distinctive cactus has many health benefits, including lowering cholesterol, stabilizing blood sugar, and has even been known to treat the dreaded hangover.
While both the fruit and pads (the branches) are both edible, the best secret is the juice from the pulp of the prickly pear fruit. Marinate poultry in the juice for a sweet twist on basic grilled chicken, or spike your traditional margarita with a shot of the cactus nectar. The prickly pear juice gives great balance to a spicy dish, such as hot wings, and adds a new flavor profile to smoothies, sorbet, or barbeque sauces.
You can order Prickly Pear juice online, or pick it up at health food stores. Also, you will find that the prickly pear “flavor” is already added to many products including iced tea, jelly, and syrup. How ever you decide to try it, your guests are sure to be intrigued by the vibrant magenta color, and you will be the hit of the party with your knowledge of this sweet Southwestern delicacy.
Enjoy dining and drink specials at Tempe Mission Palms at our Mission Grille and Harry's Place, featuring prickly pear.