A few great facts about August:
- It’s my birth month.
- There are no real major holidays (except for my birthday)
- It is the beginning of pear season.
Even if you don’t recognize the gravity of the first two bullets, the third is huge. Why one may ask? Because it gives me a perfectly awkward segue into talking about prickly pears (which actually aren’t pears at all). For all intents and purpose, prickly pears can be looked at as the fruit of some species of cactus. They resemble pears in size and shape but are covered in spines, like a cactus. I’d go into depth but then this would be a botanist blog, not a drinking one.
This all came about because I ran into some prickly pears at my local market, not literally, cause that would hurt (as I learned later), and my interest was piqued. I always anticipate the beginning of pear season and seeing the name brought up all those good pear memories *past memory ripple*… I snapped back to reality and decided to give it a whirl in a few infusions. So I bring to you this eighth month of 2013: Prickly Pear Infusion.
Prickly Pear Infusion
7 – 10 days
350 ml spirit of choice
4 – 6 medium prickly pears
Before you begin anything with prickly pears remember BE CAREFUL. While most prickly pears from the local market have been scrubbed to remove the fine cactus spines, they don’t always get them all (and they do stick around once you find one… get it?) Start by scrubbing the prickly pears down with a sponge to remove any leftover spines, then washing the fruit in Luke-warm water. To prep the fruit, slice off the ends and then cut them lengthwise down the middle. Peel off the skin of the halves and dice them into small 1 inch cubes. Drop the cubes into an airtight jar and cover them with spirit of choice. Seal and store in a cool, dark area for 7 – 10 days.
Taste testing will be critical in this infusion as the prickly pear has a light flavor. For darker spirits, two rounds of infusions may be needed to get the flavor pop needed, though I found in vodka and rum, the one round gave it a great subtle nature that popped just enough o not be over bearing.
Don’t forget to stick around and check out this month’s Drinks of the Week made with our various prickly pear infusions!