I don’t know if its because I was born and raised in the north east US or that I love the calm and quiet of a midnight snowfall, but whatever the reason, I’m a cold weather person at heart. The long, hot, and humid days of summer are pretty uncomfortable for me, even with our little air conditioner trying it’s best to keep us cool. This extends into the world of video games for me as well, as desert and lava are some of my most loathed level types (I’m looking at you Sonic & Knuckles!) Despite all this, I decided to spend some of my summer playing through Ever Oasis for the Nintendo 3DS, a game ALL ABOUT making a living in the harsh conditions of a seemingly endless desert. Maybe not the best choice now that I think of it..
In all seriousness though, I enjoyed the game. It was something like an Animal Crossing meets Zelda meets Sim City. Sound complicated? You assume the roll of a Seedling Chief tasked with creating, growing, and maintaining an oasis for other desert inhabitants to live in. Citizenship has a price however, as these new residents are quickly put to work. Some of these characters will have the ability to grow their own “bloom booths” and sell their unique wares to other residents as well as travelers and passers-by that visit the oasis. Of course, since you’ve provided them some land and a little start-up cash it’s only natural that you get a cut of the profits as well. Throw in a supply and demand mechanic and you can certainly see how this game quickly becomes a candy coated socioeconomics simulator.
But I may be getting ahead of myself here, this is a video game recipe blog after all. Ahem. Anyway, I was excited to discover that many of the bloom booths actually sold, you guessed it, food! Unfortunately, the food items in this game aren’t to be used by the player, they’re merely commodities sold to NPCs for profit. This wasn’t about to stop be from coming up with some recipes though. In fact, since the player is required to provide all the necessary materials for the items, I basically had a list of ingredients already laid out for me (albeit only up to 3 materials per item.)
There are actually several “gourmet” type booths in the game such as a doughnut shop, a soup shack, and a creperie (a place where they make crepes) to name a few, so I had a lot of options. In addition, because the game takes place in a desert, many of the ingredients are thusly themed. I figured I’d try to make something from Ever Oasis that focused on one of its most prevalent desert resource: cactuses!
Luckily, this cute little seedling in the picture above runs a juice shop that serves drinks made almost exclusively with cactus. With that in mind I headed to the grocery store to see how many cactus products I could find in my neck of the woods, which, because I live in the northeastern US, wasn’t many. What I did manage to gather was prickly pear and dragon fruit, as well as aloe vera leaf. Although only the first two actually come from the cactus family of plants, they all seemed like items our oasis chief would come across during their adventures in the desert.
So although a juice recipe might not be a huge undertaking, I was really excited to learn more about these ingredients and how to use them as I had never really had a good excuse to before. I actually made this and other cactus based recipes live on my Thursday night Twitch stream I’ve taken to calling the Level 1 Test Kitchen. So if this kind of educational/experimental cooking content interests you, make sure to check out some of my streams, I’d love to have you!
But now, without further ado, let’s explore the world of the most tsundere of plants, the cactus.
+ Cactus Juice +
Makes about a pint
|Dragon Fruit||1 (about 8 oz)|
|Aloe Vera (optional)||1 leaf (about 8 oz)|
|Lemon Juice||¾ tsp.|
- Sharp knife and a cutting board
- Mixing bowls
- Strainer or colander
- Food processor or blender
- Small sauce pot
1) Before we can get the juice from the prickly pear, we’ll need to peel it. This may not be a familiar fruit to some so if you’ve never peeled a prickly pear before you can follow the pictures below. The first step is to cut off both ends of the fruit enough so that you can see the flesh from the side. Next, use your knife to make a shallow cut length wise across the surface from end to end. Slicing through the skin will allow you to peel it away with your fingers as the flesh separates fairly easily.
2) Now to juice it. You may have noticed that there are several hard seeds suspended in the flesh of the prickly pear making it ill-suited for blending at this point. We can remove the seeds by placing the peeled fruit in a bowl and mashing it up with a fork. Once the prickly pear flesh is crushed, pour it into a cheesecloth lined strainer. This will allow the juice to drain out naturally, but you can speed up the process by wrapping up the cheesecloth and twisting the end to apply more pressure. Continue draining/squeezing out the juice until you’ve gathered about a ½ cup.
3) Now that we have our prickly pear juice, we can add our second cactus, the dragoon fruit. Scooping out the flesh of a dragon fruit is super simple and I went over it a bit in my Creamy Heart Soup recipe for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, so feel free to check it out there. Once it’s been scooped out, just combine the dragon fruit with the prickly pear juice with a blender or food processor.
If you enjoy your drinks a little chunkier, you can follow these steps to add little cubes of aloe vera (although not technically a cactus) to what we have so far. If you’d rather skip the chunks, continue on to step 6.
4) Begin by cutting your aloe vera leaf crosswise into several 3-4 inch pieces. Next, you’ll want to trim off the spiky sides of the leaf so you are only left with the smooth green skin on the top and bottom. Place the piece of aloe vera down flat on a cutting board and carefully slide the knife between the clear flesh and the skin. This stuff is slippery, so use caution when cutting. Finally, flip the leaf over and remove the last of the green skin in much the same way.
5) With the skin removed, we can now carefully dice the aloe vera flesh into small cubes. I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that this stuff is pretty… snotty for lack of a better term. Rinsing and draining the aloe several times over the sink will help with that as well as removing any of the yellow latex that you may have found. The latex is a known laxative so it’s definitely important to remove it (I didn’t see much of any latex personally, but you should always be aware.)
6) To balance out the flavors and add a bit of sweetness to our juice, dissolve the 3 Tbsp of sugar in one cup of water in a small sauce pot on the stove or in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave. Stir this syrup into the cactus juice add add to it the lemon juice. If you chose to cut up the aloe vera chunks, you can add them in now as well. Stir well and enjoy!
Hey! Thanks for reading all the the way to the end! You’re awesome :D! If you haven’t already and are looking for more nerdy food stuff, consider following me on Twitter, Facebook, tumblr and Instagram. I post a lot of work in progress pictures for the blog as well as stuff from my Twitch streams. If that sounds like something you’d be into, please check out those links above! Anyway, take care everyone and I’ll see you next time with an all-new recipe!