I don't live in the desert. I don't live anywhere near the desert. When it came to the next state on my tour of the #50StateDesserts, I had a little trouble again finding ingredients.
I am back again to take you along on my self-imposed tour of the 50 states of the United States of America by way of dessert - alphabetically. We're up to state three, Arizona, and the Cactus Candy. Cactus Candy has been made by the Cactus Candy Company of Phoenix, Arizona since 1942. And it is made entirely with prickly pear cactus fruit that is grown in the state of Arizona.
I don't live near a desert. I don't live in Arizona. Prickly pear cactus fruit is in season from September to December. I'm writing this in March and I couldn't even find prickly pear cactus juice in my city. I actually have quite a lot of family that lives in Arizona. If it were in season, I probably could get them to ship it to me but I had to get creative this month since I'm going to have trouble making cactus candy.
Like last time with Alaska when I couldn't find reindeer fat and seal oil - because I didn't look for reindeer fat and seal oil - I am changing things up again. My challenge, my rules.
I couldn't find prickly pear cactus juice, but I could find prickly pear cactus water. But what am I going to make with water? The first thing that came to mind was a fruit smoothie. I went to the Great Google and looked to see what other fruits grow in the state of Arizona. In an article about resilient fruit trees that can grow in Arizona, I learned that peaches grow well in Arizona. I have eight gallons of peaches from my own tree in my freezer. Winner!
I don't drink a lot of smoothies. I did have to go and look up ratios of how to make a smoothie since I was inventing my own. I did not want it to be watered down by the ice cubes. So I prepped ice cubes made with the prickly pear cactus water. I used my Vitamix blender to blend it all, which would probably blend nails into a smoothie if I needed it to. Any high-powered blender should work for making a smoothie.
Dump the ingredients into your blender and, well, blend.
2 cups frozen peaches
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 cup ice cubes
1 cup cactus water
Honey, to taste
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Splash of fresh-squeezed lime juice
I gathered my family up to taste test the Cactus Candy and the smoothie. Everyone liked the candy. The pieces are large, each was several bites worth. It has a gumdrop texture and is coated in sugar.
The smoothie got mixed reviews. The grownups all liked it pretty well, but my teen daughter insisted it tasted like sour bananas! It didn’t taste much like prickly pear cactus, but then the water had a very subtle flavor too. I think to really make it “prickly pear”, you would want to use the juice. While the smoothie smelled like peaches, it didn’t really taste strongly of any of the individual ingredients in it.
I got the cactus water out for everyone to try. The kids decided it was Cactus LaCroix, though it was better since it wasn’t carbonated. My son described it as “like when you suck on a Popsicle too much and you just are left with the ice with the residual flavor.”
Thank you for continuing on this #50StateDesserts journey with me. Be sure to subscribe so that you are notified of all my posts.
Until next time, I hope your days are increasingly clutter-free and filled with the people and things that mean the most to you.