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Prickly Pear Jelly

Using gloves and tongs, twist the fruit (when it's deep purple and soft it's ready) off the plant, gathering about a five-gallon bucket at a time. Fill with water and add about a quarter cup of bleach - let it sit for a few minutes, then, using heavy rubber gloves, tongs, and a vegetable scrubber, lightly scrub each "tuna" to remove dirt and the stickers, rinse, halve, and drop into a large stockpot. Add about a half inch of water and bring to a boil over low heat. Cover and simmer for about 20-25 minutes.

When slightly warm, press with potato masher and strain through a jelly bag or two thicknesses of cheesecloth. (At this point, juice may be frozen for jellymaking later.)


To 2 & 1/2 cups juice, add 1 & 3/4 ounce package of powdered pectin; bring to a fast boil, stirring constantly. Add 3 tablespoons lime juice. a few (8-10) cinnamon redhots, and 3 & 1/2 cups sugar. Bring to hard boil, and cook for 3 minutes exactly at a rolling boil. Remove from heat, skim and pour into sterilized jelly glasses. Seal at once with 1/8 inch melted paraffin.

You can use the same recipe for the Indian Fig prickly pears (big, round orange and red fruit.) If you don't have prickly pear cactus in your area, just plan to come visit us at harvest time; early September.