Prickly Pear Punch with Key Lime or Lemon


Courtesy of Amy Crowell
Photography by Holly Henderson

I always have some prickly pear fruits (tuna) or juice in my freezer (I throw the whole fruit—thorns and all—into the freezer bag) to create colorful sauces and drinks throughout the year. The magenta color of the prickly pear is fabulous, and the fruit is super easy to find and harvest from August to November in and around Central Texas.

Our key lime tree produced nearly 100 limes this year and the harvest was in tune with prickly pear season on our farm. Since I needed to concoct a few virgin drinks for the under-21 set, I figured lemon juice would pair with prickly pear juice, too, and the yellow wedge of lemon looked gorgeous against the magenta-colored prickly pear punch.

Fairly difficult

Prickly Pear Punch with Key Lime or Lemon


For 2 Person(s)


  • 1 cups prickly pear juice
  • 1/2 cups agave nectar or simple syrup
  • 1/2 cups fresh-squeezed key lime juice or lemon juice
  • 1 Lime or lemon wedges, to garnish

Prickly Pear Punch with Key Lime or Lemon Directions

  1. Harvest the tunas and process the prickly pear juice. Using tongs, pick off the ripe fruits from the plants (ripe fruits will twist off easily) and throw them into a bucket or bag. Wash the fruits—but don’t touch them with bare hands because they are covered with tiny thorns.
  2. Throw the entire fruits—thorns and all—into a pot and cover with water. Bring the pot to a boil and then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the fruit has softened.
  3. Mash the fruit with a potato masher occasionally while simmering. Let the juice cool and then strain through a jelly bag or several layers of cheesecloth. Measure out 1 cup for the punch.
  4. Make the punch. Mix the juice, sweetener and citrus juice in a pitcher. Pour individual servings over ice and garnish with lime or lemon wedges. Or, if guests prefer the consistency of a slushy, pour the juice mixture into a blender, fill with ice and blend for a wildly tasty smoothie!

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