Prickly pear is a type of cactus that comes in many different colors and sizes. They are native to the deserts of Mexico, although they have also become naturalized in parts of the American South. Prickly pears are popular for their fruits, which can be eaten raw or preserved. If you enjoy eating and using prickly pears in your recipes, you will want a way to store them for later. After all, like most fruits, prickly pears don’t last long once it’s harvested. Would freezing be an option for prickly pears?
So, can you freeze prickly pear? Yes, you can freeze prickly pear. It can be done by slicing it, blanching it for a few seconds, and then freezing it in a sealed bag or jar. Prickly pears can also be frozen as ice cubes, which make a great addition to smoothies and sauces. Properly stored, prickly pears will last for 3 months in the freezer.
Prickly pear is a succulent that grows in hot and dry climates. In this article, you will learn how to freeze prickly pear and other related topics.
Do Prickly Pears Freeze Well?
Yes, prickly pears freeze very well. This is due to the high moisture content of the fruit.
Some prickly pear varieties are better for freezing than others. The best varieties will have a similar texture to them whether they are fresh or frozen.
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How To Freeze Prickly Pears
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Frozen prickly pears are a delicious dessert that is easy to make. It does not require too much time to prepare them for the freezer. You can either freeze the fruit whole or as ice cubes.
Freezing Whole Prickly Pears
Step 1: Wash the prickly pear under cold water. Pat dry with a cloth so they are not wet or damp.
Step 2: Place the freshly washed prickly pear on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Leave them for about 30 minutes so they can get dry and pliable, this takes about 60-90 minutes in total.
Step 3: Cut the prickly pears into halves or quarters, depending on how big they are, then slice them into smaller pieces of 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick slices. Place each slice on its own parchment paper square. Ensure that each piece doesn’t touch eat other.
Step 4: Place the tray into the freezer and let it sit for about 3-4 hours to freeze.
Step 5: Once it’s completely frozen, remove them from the freezer.
Step 6: Immediately transfer the prickly pears to a freezer bag. Then press on the bag to remove any excess air before sealing.
Step 7: Label the bag with the date of freezing and place it back into the freezer.
Freezing Prickly Pears In Cubes
Prickly pears and other cacti can be frozen and used as ice cubes for drinks. They are not only a pretty addition to the drink but also an interesting one as they do not melt as quickly as regular ice cubes.
Freezing prickly pears is not difficult, but it can be tricky to get the cubes exactly how you want them. To ensure the cubes are perfect in an instant, use this step-by-step guide on freezing prickly pears in cubes.
Step 1: First, wash the prickly pears and pat dry with a paper towel.
Step 2: Take your knife and slice your prickly pear in half vertically so you have two halves that are exactly the same size. This will help create perfect cubes when you freeze them later on.
Step 3: Place them into the slot of the ice cube tray. Leave a small space at the top of each slot.
Step 4: Fill water in each slot until the prickly pear is submerged.
Step 5: Place the tray of prickly pears into the freezer. Leave it overnight or for at least 4 hours to freeze.
Step 6: Once completely frozen, remove them from the freezer.
Step 7: Transfer all the prickly pear ice cubes to the freezer bag. Then press on the bag to remove any excess air before sealing it.
Step 8: Write the date of freezing on the bag and place it into the freezer.
How Long Can You Freeze Prickly Pear?
You can keep prickly pears in the freezer for up to 3 months.
However, if you are planning to consume them within three days, then it is best to just store them at room temperature.
If you need them for a couple of more days, prickly pears can be stored in the fridge for up to five days.
How Do You Defrost Prickly Pear?
If you have a prickly pear on your counter that is still frozen, you may want to try these methods of defrosting it before using it.
Step 1: Place the prickly pear in a pot of boiling water on medium-high heat for 15 minutes.
Step 2: Remove the pear from the boiling water and place it on a baking sheet with on low heat setting in the oven for 30 minutes.
If you’ve frozen prickly pears in ice cubes, there’s no need to defrost them. Simply remove the number of prickly pears that you need from the freezer and place them directly into the blender or recipes.
Can You Refreeze Prickly Pear?
When you refreeze a prickly pear, it is possible to retain the consistency and taste of the fruit. However, the fruit should not completely thaw.
If the prickly has thawed completely whether it’s whole fruit or ice cubes, it’s best to not freeze it again. Doing so will only deteriorate the quality of the fruit.
Can you freeze prickly pear juice?
Prickly pear juice can be frozen and used as an ingredient in some dishes. It is important to note that the quality of the taste will vary depending on how you freeze it.
The process of freezing prickly pear juice is similar to freezing juices from other fruits. The main difference between these two types of fruit is that prickly pear have a thinner layer of flesh and fewer seeds on their surface. Because of this, it’s easier for your blender or food processor to break down the fruit into smaller parts so it can be mixed with liquid before being frozen.
Can you freeze prickly pear syrup?
Yes, you can freeze prickly pear syrup. Prickly pear syrup and it will become solid at -5℃.
If you are using this for cocktails or an alcoholic beverage (like a Margarita) you will need to keep it refrigerated. If your goal is to use it as a simple syrup for cooking, then it does not need to be refrigerated.