After many weeks of procrastination, I finally decided to go prickly pear picking with my neighbor. Our mission: to find the deepest purple, most succulent prickly pear fruits we could. We hopped in the car and began driving with no real direction–in fact, we got lost.
And then we saw what we had come for.
A perfectly manicured fence lined with some of the largest prickly pears I’ve seen. We had to get these babies, but I don’t believe in being rude and picking other peoples plants so I mustered up all the courage I could and drove up the long gravel driveway and asked the owner if I could pick her prickly pears. She agreed and asked for a jar of prickly pear jelly in return. I think I can handle that.
So we parked and examined the cacti, using care not to stick ourselves with their many thorns. The trick to picking prickly pears is this: tongs. If you don’t use tongs, you’ll be pulling teensy tiny stickers out of your fingers for at least a day. Believe me. I forgot my tongs on this trip.
As I filled my bowl with magenta fruits, Argentina from Guatemala plucked prickly pears from the cacti and placed them into her grocery bag. That’s when this guy showed up:
At first my friend was nervous and I chuckled to myself as I heard a very worried woman talk to this handsome horse. Then the horse headed my way. I could see why Argentina was so nervous as this horse was very macho. I don’t blame him–after all we were the strange ones picking the cacti.
In the end, we picked around 70 cups of prickly pears–way more than we needed. In other words, I now have enough prickly pears to make over 120 jars of jelly. What the heck am I supposed to do with that many jars of jelly?
Don’t even get me started on the wild persimmons we picked.