Prickly Pear Jelly

Thursday, August 11, 2011 3 comments
Ok, Rebekkah, this is for you J

  I made this tutorial in 2009 and apparently I didn’t post it on the blog... uh yeah..  who knows why.  I did it a week before teaching the young women how to do it at an activity.  In the pictures Matthew is his cute 4-yr-old self. awww.  cute.  Anyway, I’m posting it now because:

ItS tImE tO pIcK yOuR pRiCkLy PeArS! 
This week, people!  If you don’t have access to one, just drive out to ASU East- we have the most productive prickly pear cacti I’ve ever seen right by the VA Hospital.
Things you’ll need:
Rubber Gloves- BTW you'll get pokies EVERYWHERE.
A hat. cause it’s hot out there.
Pick Prickly Pear Fruits in late July or Early August when very ripe.  Pick them with tongs and they should almost lift off the plant without effort.  If they are hard to remove, they are not ready so don't force it (first hose down cactus fruits if the plant is in your yard, if not, swish with water after fruits are picked).  Easy Peasy!  Don't be afraid, my 4yr old did it! Just pinch and twist.

 however, I don't think any of us will look as cute as this when we're picking them .... it's not possible to attain this level of cute past kindergarten!

Here they are in the bucket all yucky and dirty- wash them off- I used a potato scrubber. 

 Here they are all washed and ready to cook

Barely cover clean fruits with water in large kettle and simmer with lid on until very soft. 

 Mash with Potato Masher.  This will look really weird and the little brownish greenish slimey seeds will emerge.  I love nature. 

Do not strain.  Now cover a deep bowl or pot with a pillowcase and pull tight and bind the case with a rubberband.  This is your seive. 

Sieve through clean cloth. Do not squeeze fabric or try to mush fruit while on the cloth as this could move pricklies through the cloth and into your juice. Just pour the mush on top and let it sit for 15-20 minutes or so so that all the juice can work it's way through on it's own.  Patience is, in fact, a virtue.
 Rinse remains down the disposal then wash fabric in washer.
Now you have your Prickly Pear Juice! Kudos!
(note: For a stronger flavor you can reduce your juice by
boiling it down to your desired strength.  This concentration works fine, though)
Here is the Recipe for the Jelly:

CACTUS JELLY (that's what my mom calls it)
Stir in tall kettle:
3 ½ cups cactus juice
½ cup lemon juice
1 pkg pectin 
Bring to boil and add:
5 cups sugar

Return to boil.  Let boil 3 minutes.  Skim off bubbles, if necessary.  Pour into hot pint jars. Seal with lids and rings.  Let cool.  Jars should seal (pop) as temperature lowers.


 One more note: you will be finding pricklies in your kitchen for the next week no matter how many times you mop. YE BE WARNED
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