While hiking in one of my favorite haunts near my house, I stumbled upon (and nearly right into) a HUGE patch of prickly pear. Having seen the spiny, pink and green fruit in the grocery store on occasion, I more or less knew what I was looking at. My limited experience with prickly pear cactus, however, meant that I was woefully unprepared to snag any to take home with me. Prickly pear is covered in these nasty little microscopically teeny spines that have quite the knack for burying themselves in between your fingers for an excruciating week. Most grocery stores thoughtfully remove these before selling them, but I was the wild of Los Angeles. I knew that if I was going to harvest these bad boys, I would need to come back with the right tools.
I ran home, grabbed some leather gloves, long salad tongs, a cardboard box (and the boyfriend to carry it), and was off. We foraged around for probably half an hour and completely filled the box with the delicious fruit. I still suffered a few pokes here and there from the longer cactus spines, but thankfully none of the more horrifying tiny ones.
We gleefully rushed home, where I suddenly realized I had no idea what I was doing. Enter: The Juicer. To say very little of the situation, my juicer was very, very angry with me after encountering all those prickly pear seeds. I felt bad for the little guy, but I knew all too well from past experience what the alternative was. Many hours fumbling around with tongs and a sharp knife in my leather gloves attempting to skin each fruit. Despite all of its complaining, the juicer was by far the easiest way to tackle the prickly pear. Now the next step is to attempt a Prickly Pear Sorbet from our carefully foraged haul!
…wish me luck.