Prickly Pear Molasses

by autumn on May 27, 2015

Prickly Pear Molasses // Autumn Makes & Does

Apparently we didn’t drink enough margaritas this winter because after almost a year I still have a a good amount of frozen prickly pear juice in my freezer to use up. The cactus blooms and new growth have been totally unreal so far this spring. If you follow me on instagram, you likely noticed my sorrynotsorry repeated, gratuitous cactus flower pics.


Cactus blooms mean that cactus fruit harvest is not too far off, so I’ve been working on putting my frozen prickly pear juice to work. If you’ve made boiled cider or pomegranate molasses, you’ll recognize this technique that I absolutely adore. Basically, what we’re doing here is cooking down the juice to concentrate the flavor and the sugars. The result is a sticky, tart-sweet, no added sweetener syrup.

Prickly Pear Molasses // Autumn Makes & Does

This is more of a technique than a recipe, so I’ll walk you through what I did. You can start with any amount of prickly pear juice, but know that it needs to cook down A LOT. I started with about 3 cups and ended up with a scant half cup, to give you an idea. I used a wide, shallow pan to speed the process along and it took about 45 minutes. In a different shaped pan, it could take significantly longer. More or less, you want less than a quarter of what you started with. Starting with 3 cups, bring the juice it to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook it until only about a half cup of liquid remains–eyeballing is an adequate measure here. Store it in the fridge. I haven’t experimented with long-term storage on this yet, but I imagine it would keep a decent amount of time in the fridge.

This prickly pear molasses will thicken significantly, but won’t get as thick as store-bought pomegranate molasses. I used something similar for a prickly pear ice cream experiment last fall, but you can use this basically wherever you’d use another syrup–in your fizzy water (it will be the most vibrant color), stirred into yogurt, or on ice cream. I haven’t tried this yet, but I imagine this would also be really good in many of the same savory applications as pomegranate molasses, such as a glaze for roasted meats or tofu.

Prickly Pear Molasses // Autumn Makes & Does

What made it through the winter in your freezer that you’re trying to use up?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nicole May 27, 2015 at 4:00 pm

I love this no-added-sweetener technique! And that color!!!


2 autumn May 28, 2015 at 9:51 pm

Thanks, Nicole! The color is too much, right?


3 Kate June 6, 2015 at 1:55 pm

Whaaaa?!! This is amazing! How did you make prickly pear juice? In a juicer? Blender? and strained out the seeds? I bet it is delicious.


4 Sarah M June 12, 2015 at 12:41 am

I love prickly pear! The color is gorgeous and it tastes so good. I’ll have to start following the blog…I’ve got a lot of prickly pear juice in my freezer to use up, too. (Might even be from two summers ago….)


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