I've been doing some research into Navajo natural dyeing techniques - prickly pear fruit with it's fabulous, vivid magenta to strong pink colour would be an obvious choice.
I was afraid of the possible, painful consequences of harvesting the fruit, but following some instruction from my somewhat experienced husband, I went ahead and I'm so glad I did. Harvesting and preparation instructions are here.
Not only did I pick and prepare enough fruit to start my yarn dyeing experiment, I also came up with a delicious syrup! Here is the recipe for you:
1.1kg ripe prickly pear fruit
500grams white sugar
1 teaspoon citric acid
When the fruit is prepared and peeled (see harvesting and preparation method here) chop each fruit into 3 and blend in a food processor. No food processor? Place in a bowl and mash really well with a potato masher. Place a strainer or colander over a large saucepan. Strain the juice, leaving the seeds in the strainer. Use a spoon to push through all that goodness.
Once you have your juice, add the sugar and citric acid. Warm over a low heat until sugar in dissolved, then increase heat to medium until the liquid comes to a light boil. Boil for no more than 5 minutes.
Allow to cool, poor into a glass bottle or similar and keep in the fridge.
Can be used as a cordial, just mix with water, mix with mineral water and ice for a refreshing drink, drizzle over ice-cream, yoghurt, pancakes, waffles or fruit salad. Anything you would use a fruit syrup for, this syrup can be used.
Hope you enjoy it!