This margarita was not supposed to be here today.
This margarita was supposed to be a different kind of margarita instead.
And then it was supposed to be a cake, but that’s another story for another day.
Today’s story is about my quest to make you a delightfully southwestern margarita full of prickly pear juice and limes and tequila.
Unfortunately, both prickly pears (also known as “cactus pears”) and limes were in short supply in my neighborhood. Which is funny because I distinctly remember almost buying a bunch of them last week, but not knowing what I would do with them so deciding against it. As luck would have it, now that I wanted to use them, they were nowhere in sight.
I searched my store high and low for those same prickly pears that were piled high just last week and finally found two hiding underneath some mini bananas. I quickly grabbed them up and immediately regretted my decision.
To say they were “over-ripe” would be an understatement. They basically turned to mush in my hands. Those poor two prickly pears had probably been hiding under those bananas for weeks, months, or maybe even years… thinking they were safe… until I came along.
Ok, so maybe not years. But definitely for awhile. It probably doesn’t help that bananas tend to help things ripen. Did you know that? It’s a very helpful factoid when you are stuck with an underripe avocado and a craving for guacalmole.
Would you like to know another helpful factoid? Prickly pears are prickly, and not just in the way you might think.
Stores often remove the fruit’s larger spines to help save their poor customers’ hands. What they do not always remove, however, are the super tiny, almost invisible, hairlike spines that grow on them as a secondary defense.
At least, my store doesn’t… So after I set down my prickly pear mush, I discovered that my hands were now covered in tiny, almost invisible, cactus needles. My poor poor hands.
Have you ever tried grocery shopping or driving a car with thousands* of needles poking into your hand? It’s rather difficult.
*Ok, so maybe it was more like ten…
I grabbed the tweezers when I got home and immediately began my emergency surgery. Time spent holding prickly pears: approximately 6 seconds. Time spent looking for and removing tiny cacti needles out of my had: approximately 26 minutes.
Lesson learned – always wear gloves when touching cacti-related objects. No matter how safe they look.
You know what’s not prickly? Watermelons.
Watermelons are quite smooth, actually. In fact, watermelons may be one of the least prickly things on the planet.
I’m not sure if there have been scientific studies or not to back this up, but if there were I’m pretty sure they would uphold my hypothesis.
Unfortunately, watermelons are also not prickly pears. They do, however, have a similar flavor profile. While I would say prickly pears are a bit sweeter than watermelons, Shannon aptly described them as, “A prickly pear is like if a watermelon and some bubble gum had a baby.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
So, this Cinco de Mayo, I give to you a not-prickly-pear margarita. No gloves or tweezers necessary. Limes, however, are necessary. You do not want to be out running around to four different stores at the last minute because you realize that you are a big dummy and you forgot to get limes.
If you need more ideas for you Cinco de Mayo fiesta, you can check out this roundup.
- 1 cup watermelon, cubed
- 1/4 cup tequila (I use Sauza blanco)
- 2 Tablespoons simple syrup
- 2 Tablespoons lime juice (about 1 lime)
- 1 Tablespoon Cointreau
- 1 lime, sliced (for garnish)
- Process watermelon in a blender until liquified. Strain if necessary to remove any seeds.
- In a large cup or shaker, combine watermelon puree, tequila, cointreau, simple syrup, and juice of one lime. Shake or stir with ice to combine.
- Strain into ice-filled glass and garnish with lime slice to serve.