Larry Ulrich

The recipes for this page were taken from the Eating Wild cookbook prepared by the Otero County Chapter ot the Native Plant society of New Mexico 1999.

Prickly Pear Recipes



Prickly Pear Pads

Nopales or pads should be harvested when the pads are young and tender. To prepare, scrape with large kitchen knife or peel off spines with vegetable peeler. Trim any dry of fibrous areas. Rise throughly removing any tiny spines or sticky fluid seeping from the pads. Slice into thin strips or chop into small pieces. Steam, sautee', or boil. Nopales may be eaten raw, but it is not the preferred way. The prepared pieces may be added to any dish for a southwestern flavor. Nopales can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week. Freezing is not recommended.
Nancy Hutto

Prickly pears grow in a number of places around the world. The nopales are also available in many grocery stores.



Prickly Pear Tunas

Tunas or prickly pear fruit should be picked using tong or a piece of heavy paper. To prepare tunas, rub with a heavy cloth or peel with a paring knife. To make juice, unpeeled whole fruit can be cooked with just enough water to cover in a sauce pan. Mash with potato masher and let cook 30 minutes. Strain through several layers of cheese cloth or cotton muslin dish towel.
Nancy Hutto


Southwest Cactus Salad

2 cups Nopalitos, diced 1/2" pieces
4 green onions
1/2 lbs. tomatoes peeled
1/4 C. lime juice
2T. minced cilantro
1 bell pepper, chopped

Combine nopalitos, onions, lime juice and cilantro. Mix and season with salt. Server or cover and chill.

Makes 8 servings
Nancy Hutto


Desert Dream Delight

1. Crust: 1 cup flour
1 stick butter
1 cup chopped pecans
Mix together and press in 9" x 13" pan.Bake at 350 degrees F until brown. Let cool and add second layer.

2. Mix: 8 oz cream cheese
1 cup poudered sugar
1 cup Cool Whip (large carton)
Spread evenly over cooled crust.

3. Boil: 1-1/2 cup prickly pear juice
1-1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix 1/2 cup corn starch and 1/2 cup water to make a smooth paste, add to boiling mixture gradually, stirring constantly. Cook until thick and remove from the heat. Combine 4 beaten eggs and 1/2 cup lemon juice. Stir into mixture. Return to heat and cook stirring constantly until it bubbles. stir in 4 tablespoons butter. Remove from heat, cover, and cool until lukewarm. Pour over cream cheese layer. Spread evenly. Top with remaining Cool Whip.
Nancy Hutto


Prickly Pear Cookies

1/2 cup butter 3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda 3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup prickly pear juice 1 egg
1/4 cup prickly pear fruit peeled, seeded and diced 1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup maraschino cherries 1-1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup chopped pecans  

Cream butter and sugar. Blend in sour cream, egg and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients and blend in sour cream mixture. Add prickly pear juice, fruit, cherries and nuts. Drop from teaspoon onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes.

Makes 2-1/2 dozen cookies.
Nancy Weinert developed these cookies in her University of Arizona experimental foods class. They are pink and pretty.
Nancy Hutto


Prickly Pear Cactus Jelly

With tongs and a bucket, gather tunas when they have turned a dark burgandy color. Cut in half (no need to remove the prickles). Suggestion: Hold with a fork and cut in half. Place in a pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil for 30 minutes. Strain through muslin or wet guaze four times.

2 cups Prickly Pear Juice
1 cup apple juice
2-3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar mixed with package Sure-Jell Light

Follow direction for jellies on Sure-Jell package.

Makes 6 to 8 cups or 3 to 4 pints.
Pat Hendzel


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