Thursday, July 09, 2009

Making Cactus Jelly

Memories with mom are sweet and one of the sweetest was in the kitchen making all sorts of fun food. Cactus jelly is one of those fun foods.

Last week, one little grandson and I adventured down the street to pick up our cactus fruit to make jelly. This is the recipe I'll use. Thanks to one of the members of the Phoenix Permaculture Guild!

Collecting the pears (called “tunas” by the Natives)

Use tongs to pull off the fruits when there is no green left at the base. From experience, cut one open first to check. I didn’t and ended up wasting a bunch of harvested pears. It should look juicy with very little fibers.

Next, FREEZE em’ (I put em in gallon freezer bags)

Once they’re frozen for a couple of days (I think ours was about 4 days), then you can just set them in a strainer on top of cheesecloth. The spines somehow are messed up and caught up in the cloth. The pears will actually deflate and the juice will filter through the cloth. All the work is done for you!

Now, use the juice in the recipe below


2 1/2 cups prickly pear cactus juice

1/2 cup lemon juice

5 cups sugar (I used 4 ½ cups myself)

1 box of powdered pectin (18 teaspoons-note that not all pectin brands contain the same amount in a box, so measure it out to make sure)

Hard boil cactus fruit juice, pectin and lemon juice for 3 minutes. Hard boil means the point at which the brew still bubbles even when you stir it. Add sugar and bring back to a hard boil for 2 minutes or until the jell point is reached. Now can it!

Put in 8 once canning jars, seal and heat process for 10 minutes.

Go here for the beginning of this adventure! Have you visited La Maison et le Jardin yet?

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