This is a very popular Arizona candy, especially in the airport gift shops.
For colored cactus candy, any vegetable food coloring may be added to the syrup.
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Select prickly pear cactus (or small barrel cactus if you own this type of cactus, since it's illegal to remove it from the desert).
- Remove spines and outside layer with large knife. Cut pulp across in slices one-inch thick. Soak overnight in cold water.
- Remove from water, cut into 1-inch cubes and cook in boiling water until tender. Drain.
- Cook slowly in the following syrup until nearly all the syrup is absorbed. Do not scorch!
- Syrup (for 2 quarts of cactus cubes): Heat all ingredients until sugar is dissolved, then add cactus.
- Remove cactus from syrup; drain and roll in granulated or confectioners sugar.
Source: Arizona Cookbook