Prickly Pear Jelly
First, you should be sure you have a Tarzan to pick the fruit, it's not called Prickly Pear for nothing. The little white dots on the fruit is cactus prickles. Use tongs and stand back from the cactus. These cactus are in our front yard. Next, you will prepare the fruit. I didn't get all the pictures for that step. Tarzan does this first part and I had to leave to run an errand while he was doing it. But this is what you do. Wash the fruit--handle it with tongs. Rub the fruit on the bottom of the sink to remove the prickles. Then you cut the fruit in quarters and boil it for 10 minutes. You can remove the seeds if you like, we don't bother to do that.

Then put the fruit into a cheese cloth and squeeze the juice out into bowls. Tarzan tells me he strains it 3 times. First, he uses a potato masher and smashes it into a mush, then he puts it through a collander, then he puts it through a wire strainer and finally he puts it through the cheese cloth.

I am putting the recipe next and then there are pictures. There are a few pieces of advice I would give.

  1. This is very sweet jam so don't skimp on the lemon juice.
  2. There is a rule when you are making candy--don't scrape the sides of the pan while it is cooking or it will turn to sugar. I followed that rule for my jam and it turned out great.
  3. My friend from Russia, Boris, makes a rice dish he brings to work from time to time. I have asked him for the recipe and he can't quite give it to me, but he does say this. When you make this dish, you have to be in a good mood. If you are not in a good mood, it won't turn out right. I think that holds true for this jam. Have fun, make it with love, relax and take your time, it will turn out right.
  4. The instructions say to take 5 minutes to add the sugar, I take closer to 10 minutes. Put a little sugar in, stir until it is dissolved and then let it almost boil again stirring frequently.
  5. Oh, yes, and I added a little red food coloring. When we made this last time, as the jelly aged, it lost its natural ruby color, so I thought I would see if a few drops of food color would help it keep its color.
  6. This is called a hot pack, so you don't need to cook it after it is in the bottles, just put the lids on tight and let them pop.

The Recipe

Prickly Pear Jelly

3 ½ cups fruit from Prickly Pears
1 bottle or 2 packages of liquid pectin
Juice from 2 lemons
8 level cups sugar

Remove fine thorns and blossom ends from 3 pounds of ripe cactus fruit. Cut into small pieces, crush and add 1 cup water. Stir until boiling, cover pan and simmer 10 minutes. Place in cheese cloth bag and squeeze out juice. Measure sugar into a separate pan. Bring juice and pectin just to boil, stirring constantly, and begin to add sugar slowly with constant stirring, taking about 5 minutes to add sugar, and keep juice nearly at a boil. Then bring to a rolling boil and boil for one-half minute. Remove from fire, let stand a few seconds, skim, pour quickly into jars and seal hot.

Next canned peaches


COOL Sandi! I want to try some!