How to Make Homemade Prickly Pear Cactus Juice
How to Extract Cactus Juice
The juice from the prickly pear cactus has a long-standing role in Mexican and Mexican-American cuisine. It also contains a rare type of antioxidant called betalains, as well as other antioxidants, fiber, pectin, and vitamin C, and the juice is thought to help patients struggling with type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, hangovers, viral infections, and several digestive ailments. You should be careful when extracting the juice, however, since the prickly spines on the outside of the cactus can cause severe irritation.
Removing the Spines
Wear a thick pair of gloves.Leather or rubber gloves usually work best since these materials are the hardest for cactus needles to pierce.
Carefully apply a long strip of tape to the outside of the cactus.Place a strip of duct tape so that it runs in a straight line from the top of the cactus to the bottom without overlapping.
Rip the tape off.Use a quick motion, but do not pull so hard or so fast that you cause the cactus to topple over. The tape should have removed many of the needles.
Repeat the taping process.Continue ripping out the needles using tape until enough needles have been removed for you to grab the cactus safely. You should still wear your gloves, however, since some of the needles may remain.
Dig out the spines with a knife or pair or pliers.The spines are the harder jagged points along the surface of the cactus where the needles grew from. Removing the spines decreases the risk of running across a stray needle, and it also makes it easier to juice the cactus since the hard spines contain no juice.
- Steady the cactus with one hand.
- Dig the knife or pliers into the cactus under each spine bud.
- Gradually push up on the bud from underneath until it comes out.
Remove the pads from the pears.Each portion can be juiced, but both parts must be juiced differently. The pads are the flat "vegetable" or leaf part of the cactus while the pears are the rounded "fruit" of the plant. Cut the pads and pears away from the cactus using a sharp knife.
Juicing the Pads
Wash the pads beneath running water.Lightly scrub the pads with a potato brush under lukewarm water. Scrubbing the pads removes any sand or dirt from the exterior of the pad, but scrubbing too hard may pierce the pad and cause some of the juice to leak out prematurely.
Place the pad on a flat counter.Cut away any bruised parts of the pad using a small, sharp knife.
Transfer the pads to a large bowl.The bowl should be large enough to fit the pads, and it must also have a large enough mouth for you to work with the pads inside the bowl.
Crush the pads.Use the flat top of a hammer-style meat tenderizer or other flat kitchen utensil. Press the tenderizer against the pads, crushing the juice out. Continue pressing until the pads are thoroughly broken and removed of most of their juice.
Strain the juice out.The pad pieces should be relatively large, so the juice should not be too pulpy. Simply pour the juice through a wire mesh strainer and into a separate glass or bowl, allowing the solid portions to remain trapped on the other side of the strainer. Discard the solids once you are finished.
Juicing the Pears
Wash the pears under running water.Use lukewarm or cool water and scrub them clean with a vegetable brush.
Cut off the ends of the fruit.Cut off approximately 1/2 inch (1.27 centimeters) from both ends of the fruit, essentially removing just enough to cut away the skin and expose the inner flesh.
Slit the fruit.Use a sharp, heavy knife. The slit should only cut halfway into the fruit instead of the entire way through, and it should extend from the top end of the fruit straight through to the bottom end.
Place the slit fruit into a deep pot.Fill the pot with enough water to cover the fruit by about 1 inch (2.54 centimeters). Bring the water to boil over high heat.
Reduce the heat to medium and simmer the cactus pears.The fruit needs to simmer until the interior becomes soft and mushy. This may take between 45 and 60 minutes. Check the softness of the interior by inserting a fork through the slit. If it is still hard, continue to simmer it in 10 minute intervals until it softens.
Remove the fruit from the water.Allow it to cool to room temperature before attempting to handle it.
Cut the fruit open.Cut into the slit, slicing the fruit through to the other side.
Scoop out the inside of the fruit.It should be soft enough to remove with a spoon by this point. Place the pulp, seeds and all, into the center of a large square of cheesecloth.
Bring the ends of the cheesecloth together.Knot or twist the ends into a tight bundle to prevent any pulp from escaping through the top. Hold the cheesecloth over a large bowl.
Squeeze the juice out of the cheesecloth.Squeeze the bundle of cactus pulp through the cheesecloth, pushing in a downward motion to direct the juice out through the bottom of the cloth and into the bowl below. Continue squeezing until juice no longer drips from the bottom of the cloth.
QuestionHow do I remove the effect of facial bleeding resulting from drinking cactus juice?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerMake sure you take the precautions to remove the needles. In your case, go to the doctor immediately because cactus in the face can be dangerous if left untreated.Thanks!
QuestionAre there any poisonous species of cactus?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, there are no poisonous cactus but some cactus taste better then others.Thanks!
QuestionHow much cactus juice can I drink per day?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerI would only drink one glass of cactus juice per day.Thanks!
How do I extract the oil from the cactus?
- Look for cactus fruit that is reddish-brown or purple. Green or yellow fruit tends to be too under-ripe to provide the full nutritional benefits and may be harder to extract juice from.
- Select fruit from young cacti. Old cacti tend to be too tough and are harder to extract juice from.
- Consider buying commercially-made cactus juice or nectar. You can usually find it available for purchase online, at various health food stores, and at ethnic grocery stores that sell Mexican foods and ingredients.
- Be careful to remove all the needles and spines before you begin juicing your cactus, and be aware that even store-bought fruit may contain them. These prickly elements can irritate your skin and cause serious problems if accidentally swallowed.
Video: MAKING CACTUS JUICE!
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