The Texas prickly pear cactus has broad leaves which are called pads and produce a very pretty yellow-to-red flower in the spring. In Fall, these flowers produce a red-to-purple fruit, which along with the pads, is edible but highly tricky to approach considering the tufts of spines they have to protect them. Did these spines stop a Texan from making a delicious wine from this fruit? No sir-ee. Although the spines can be long and large along the plant’s pads, those on the fruit are considerably shorter (however, still as painful.) When peeled, the fruit has an aroma which is similar to watermelon, and this, of course, can make a delicious tasting wine.
There’s Texas Tough, and Then There’s Prickly Pear Wine Tough
Photo: Pinterest/Kelly Smith Neill
There are several outstanding recipes made with both the pads and the fruit, including salads, omelets, and even frozen slushies for those hot Texas summers. Native Americans have traditionally used the seeds in their flours, used the pads for medicinal purposes, and of course ate the fruit, eventually introducing it to settlers of the Southwest who would not be aware that something with such spines could produce such goodness. But again: did that stop a Texan from making a delicious wine from this fruit? The answer, of course, is no. Hence the great place listed in the next paragraph of the article where you can, in fact, find a fantastic glass (or two) of it, professionally made, professionally served, and we’ll leave it to you to professionally enjoy.
A glass of luscious prickly pear wine can be found at the Capri in Marfa, Texas. Owned and operated by arts and culture philanthropist Virginia Lebermann, this restaurant and events space in the ultra-stylish West Texas outpost of Marfa features food and drink of the area’s indigenous flora and fauna developed by her husband and renowned chef, Rocky Barnette. Launching a collection of pre-conquest dishes and drinks from the region in a tasting menu of ancient design, prickly pear wine is featured, and of course is divine. The chef himself tries the plants he uses in the cuisine and beverages he prepares, ensuring the quality of the menu item before it’s served. And you won’t regret such a thirst-quenching, quintessential drink such as prickly pear wine.