Prickly Pear Syrup

Opuntia, commonly called prickly pear, is a genus of flowering plants in the cactus family Cactaceae. Prickly pears are also known as tuna, sabra, nopal from the Nahuatl word nōpalli for the pads, or nostle, from the Nahuatl word nōchtli for the fruit; or paddle cactus.


  • 12 large or 24 small prickly pear fruits
  • 2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 1 lemon (juiced)

Method (by SpruceEats)

  • Coarsely chop the pulp and put it into a large pot along with enough water to cover the fruit. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer until the fruit pulp is losing its color and flavor to the liquid, about 15 minutes.
  • Strain the liquid through a jelly bag, several layers of cheesecloth in a colander, or a cloth produce bag.
  • Measure the strained liquid. You should have about 4 cups. Return the prickly pear liquid to the pot (wash the pot first if there are any seeds sticking to it).
  • Add the sugar and lemon juice. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  • A foamy scum usually forms on the surface of the prickly pear syrup while it is coming to a boil. Skim as much of this off as possible and discard it.
  • Pour the still-hot prickly pear syrup into clean pint or half-pint canning jars (it is not necessary to sterilize the jars for this recipe). Be sure to leave half an inch of headspace between the surface of the syrup and the rims of the jars. Wipe the rims of the jars clean with a damp paper towel or a clean dishcloth.​
  • Screw on canning lids and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (adjust the canning time if you live at a high altitude). Alternatively, skip the canning process and refrigerate your prickly pear syrup for up to 1 month.