Saturday, August 01, 2009

Too hot for cactus

Last night I uncorked one of my few remaining bottles of prickly pear mead and poured myself a glass. Oh my. I'd forgotten how fruity and smooth this batch turned out. Still, by far, my most successful attempt at homebrew mead making.

So today I figure I'll mount a little excursion to collect the fruit of the prickly pear cactus. Gather the fruit now, freeze it, and then in a couple months start a five-gallon batch of mead fermenting. Except, much to my consternation, there really isn't much in the way of prickly pear fruit out there growing wild. I found a bunch of burn-blackened land beside the back roads I drove through the countryside, some shriveled cactus thirsting due to lack of rain, a bunch of cactus that hadn't set fruit at all (also, presumably due to lack of rain) and a few cactus with immature fruit. All told, I collected about half a grocery sack's worth of the fruit, less than half of what I need for a decent batch of mead. And about half that is underripe--purple, but not the deep, almost-black purple that signifies the greatest sweetness and flavor.

You know the drought's bad when cactus are struggling.

Now Playing: James Horner The Rocketeer

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