Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Prickly pear revisited

So after Saturday's mixed success on finding ripe prickly pear fruit (or even unripe fruit, for that matter) I reconsidered my options. I'd gathered maybe a couple of pounds of fruit, which wasn't enough to add meaningful flavor to any batch of mead I make, unless said batch is fairly small (which wouldn't really be worth the effort). Yet I didn't want to throw any of the fruit I'd gathered away, because, heck, that was almost two hours' worth of work in the hot afternoon sun.

Then I remembered that Lime Kiln Road in San Marcos winds its way up into the Hill Country to the northwest of town. The last time I drove up that way (on a quest for passionflowers, naturally) I seem to recall seeing a bunch of prickly pear cactus growing along the side of the road. Well, it was worth a shot, I figured, so on my lunch break I set off to see what I could find.

I found lots of cactus. Man, oh, man, if I had permission to cross fence lines I'd have been overwhelmed with the stuff. As it was, I stayed in the public right-of-way and did pretty good for myself. The drought's had an impact here as well, because the majority of cactus didn't have any fruit at all. But there were simply so many cactus that even with, say, every fifth plant sporting ripe fruit, it took me all of 30 minutes to gather about five pounds worth of the fat, maroon tunas. That was about my limit to tolerating the blazing sun, and I was pretty thoroughly drenched with sweat afterwards (luckily, I have my own office at work, so nobody has to suffer beside me). There was more unripe fruit than ripe, so I plan on going back later this week or early next and picking some more. After that, I should have more than enough to make an impressive batch of prickly pear mead. Can't wait.

Now Playing:

No comments:

Post a Comment