Prickly Pear Cactus Jelly Recipe
2 1/2 cups prickly pear juice
3 Tbsp lemon or lime juice
1 package powdered pectin (I use surejell)
3 1/2 cups sugar
We picked one 5 gallon bucket of fruit. 1 quart of prickly pear cactus fruit should make about 2 1/2 cups of juice. WEAR GLOVES! Pluck the fruit from the cactus using tongs. Using a clean 5 gallon bucket, fill half way with clean water and then place some of your fruit in. Stir and tumble using a long stick of wood. CAREFUL, they have tiny thorns! Pour water out and repeat several times until your fruit looks to be thorn free. Just to be sure you can use your tongs and a brush to scrub each piece of fruit under running water to remove all traces of thorns.
Boil fruit until tender and soft. Mash and strain using a fine jelly sieve. Do not add water. Set aside to allow juice to settle. For clear jelly, do not use the portion containing sediment.
In a sauce pan, measure out 2 1/2 cups of cactus juice, add 1 package of pectin. Bring mixture to a fast boil, stirring constantly. Add lemon or lime juice and sugar. Bring to a hard boil (one that can't be stirred down) and let boil for 3 more minutes. The timing is important to get the mixture to jell properly. Remove from heat, skim and pour into hot canning jars leaving 1/4 inch space per jar. Wipe jar rims and seal lids. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath to seal the lids. Makes 6 1/2 pints of jelly.
It doesn't have to be done all at once. It is a slow process in the works! C-ya next time!
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