YIELD: 1/2 CUP
Prickly pear is the fruit of a paddle-shaped cactus. Some people describe its flavor as reminiscent of bubblegum. Don’t be intimidated; it’s easier to work with prickly pears than it seems. The soda’s magenta hue makes this one the most beautiful of the bunch.
8 prickly pears
3 cups water
2 tablespoons agave syrup
To tackle the prickly pear, use a cutting board that you don’t mind potentially staining. Slice off both ends of each prickly pear. Then, cut down one side of the prickly pear skin. Use your hands to open the skin around the prickly pear and remove the flesh. You can use your hands to break the flesh into pieces, or chop with a knife. Combine the prickly pear pieces and the water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low or medium-low, and let simmer for about 15 minutes, until most of the liquid is gone, with just 1/2 cup remaining, plus the prickly pear seeds. Remove from the heat, and let cool. Use a fine-mesh sieve to strain the pulp and seeds from the syrup, making sure to press it against the strainer to extract as much liquid as possible. Stir in the agave to combine. Refrigerate the syrup in a covered container for up to 5 days.
To make Prickly Pear Syrup: Stir 2 tablespoons Prickly Pear Syrup, or to taste, into 10 ounces (1 1/4 cups) seltzer.