Hard to imagine what prickly pear ice cream might taste like? I can imagine, I had no clue either… well, that was until I got my hands on some while living in Tucson, Arizona. Before then, I had no clue such a fruit existed. They have an unexpected surprise taste of a combination of bubble gum and watermelon. That’s how my taste buds identified the flavor.
While visiting a local Farmer’s Market, we stumbled upon a vendor that was selling Prickly Pear Popsicles as well as the fruit itself. So we decided to buy some. We actually had no idea on what to do with or how to prepare them, but we always have Google! :) Bob really got excited reading about the preparation because it involved a torch! I share below how this comes into play.
This fruit is also called Cactus pear, Tuna fruit, Indian figs and Mission cactus. Good-quality prickly pear is egg-shaped and has yellow to magenta coloring depending on the variety. They will ripen at room temperature.
Prickly pears grow on cactus. The small seeds are edible, but the rind is not. Be careful of spines that were not removed. Trust me, it’s a hum-dinger if one finds its way into your finger.
Prickly pears are low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. They’re also a good source of Calcium and Potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C and Magnesium.
Since moving from Arizona, I have yet to find any prickly pears in the stores… but perhaps you live in the perfect climate where they grow and you have had a burning desire to make something with them… well, now you can. :) I do hope you enjoy this recipe. Please comment below. Blessings, amie sue
1/3 cup + 1/4 cup of raw agave nectar or maple syrup
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt
Prickly pear juice :
While holding the fruit with tongs or with a knife stuck into the end, remove needles from the pear by burning them off with a small hand torch. This is very important!
The small needles on the fruit are very painful if they get under your skin. So handle carefully.
After the needles are burnt off, cut the fruit in half and scoop out the seeds and flesh, then put them in the blender.
Blend the flesh and seeds in the blender for about 40 seconds. Pour the mixture into a nut bag or a mesh screen to separate the seeds and pulp from the juice. Discard the seeds.
Place the cashews in a glass bowl, along with 4 cups of water.
Soak for at least 2 hours. Read more about why (here).
The soaking process will help reduce phytic acid, which will aid in digestion.
The soaking also softens the cashews so they blend nice and creamy.
After the cashews are through soaking, drain and rinse.
In a high-speed blender, combine the cashews, prickly pear juice, coconut meat and water, sweetener, lemon juice and salt. Blend until nice and creamy.
Due to the volume and the creamy texture that we are going after, it is important to use a high-powered blender. It could be too taxing on a lower-end model.
Blend until the filling is creamy smooth. You shouldn’t detect any grit. If you do, keep blending.
This process can take 2-4 minutes, depending on the strength of the blender. Keep your hand cupped around the base of the blender carafe to feel for warmth. If the batter is getting too warm. Stop the machine and let it cool. Then proceed once cooled.
Place the blender carafe in the fridge or freezer for 1 hour.
If chilled in the fridge it can stay in there for up to 8 hours. But don’t leave in the freezer more than an hour or it will freeze solid.
Once chilled pour the batter into the ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
It is best to take the ice cream out of the freezer for about 10 minutes ahead of time so it can have a chance to soften.
Eat within 1 month.
Freezing Suggestions for Ice Cream:
Use ice cream machine. Follow manufactures directions.
Freeze in popsicle molds or 3 oz Dixie cups with a popsicle stick inserted.
Pour ice cream into a freezer safe container and stir occasionally as it freezes.
Freeze the ice cream in individual sized portions. I use either 4 oz mason jars or single serving ice cream containers, which can be found (here). You will also see the ice cream machine that I use.
Store the ice cream in the very back of the freezer, as far away from the door as possible. Every time you open your freezer door you let in warm air. Keeping ice cream way in the back and storing it beneath other frozen-sold items will help protect it from those steamy incursions.
Ice cream is full of fat, and even when frozen, fat has a way of soaking up flavors from the air around it—including those in your freezer. To keep your ice cream from taking on the odors, use a container with a tight-fitting lid. For extra security, place a layer of plastic wrap between your ice cream and the lid.
To soften in the refrigerator, transfer ice cream from the freezer to the refrigerator 20-30 minutes before using. Or let it stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
For more tips on making raw ice cream, click (here).