Agua Fresca de Tuna


By Amy Crowell
Photography by Marla Camp

The prickly pear cactus (Opuntia engelmannii and other species) is one thorn-ful and familiar Texas icon packed with history and flavor. Yes, flavor! Take a drive north, south, east and especially west of Austin, and you'll notice a plethora of these medium-size cacti dotting old farm fields and roadsides along the way. Stop at a country store on the drive, and you're sure to find some sort of jelly or sauce made out of the cactus fruits known as tunas or, of course, pears.

Fairly difficult

Agua Fresca de Tuna


For 1 Person(s)


  • 10 prickly pear tuna
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/4 cups sugar (you can substitute agave nectar or honey)
  • Juice of 1 lime

Agua Fresca de Tuna Directions

  1. After spines are removed, cut off tuna ends and cut in half.
  2. Scrape or peel out the inside of the tuna and remove seeds if possible. If not, you can leave the seeds. Place in a bowl.
  3. Bring the water to a boil then remove from heat and pour over tuna.
  4. Cover and let steep at least 2–3 hours.
  5. Stir and mash fruits occasionally to release the good juices.
  6. Strain off pulp and seeds, add sugar and lime juice.
  7. Serve over ice for a refreshing drink or use as the base for your homemade margaritas.

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