Sunday, August 24, 2014

Texas Prickly Pear Cactus Jelly

Have you ever had Prickly Pear Jelly?  Would you like to try it?  Well, I'm going to share with you how I made mine.  The picking and cleaning process is a bit tricky, but well worth it!
This jelly makes enough to stock your pantry for the next several months or a great gift giving idea as well.  Friends and family always love homemade jellies, or at least mine do!
See those beautiful red rubies perched on top of the prickly pear cactus?  Those are the "good stuff" you want for your jelly.  While collecting these, be very careful, wear gloves, it is a cactus and cactus bite!
Look how many we found!  This is only a few.  This time of year in Texas you will see this everywhere! Such a beautiful site!

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.
Just look at the color variations here.  The sunlight shining through them is such a pretty site!  You could almost use them as decor in your kitchen! LOL!  Have you made this jelly before?  Let me know how yours turned out. I'd love to know!

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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  1. I was scrolling through the Chicken Chick's Hop and went "Screeech!" as I spotted your picture. I make this every year and that purple color is unmistakeable. Always good to see a different recipe. Labor Day Weekend is my deadline for picking the tunas so I better get busy! :) Beautiful jelly.

  2. OMG, I just noticed something else: I sell my prickly pear jelly and I use the exact same font on my labels as you did in your final product photo. Oh, and we are also living in a super duper fixer upper. Gonna have to follow you seeing as how we are kindred spirits. :)

  3. Hi! My husband just picked 5 gallons of prickly pears for me. Do you husk the fruit first or do you just boil the whole thing?

    1. Hi Theresa! No, I don't husk it. But make sure you do the steps above to remove the thorns. After all the thorns are gone, then boil whole.

  4. I just made some prickly pear jelly, it turned out great, thanks for the recipe!

  5. This is the first recipe I have tried that actually jelled well. Its a winner. I didnt cook mine at all. I scrubbed each fruit with a brush, trimmed the ends and put them in my juicer, then strained that juice in cheese cloth again to make it crystal clear. I also squeezed my own fresh lemons and limes. I used pure cane sugar. I live in AZ and the jelly is amazing. My son couldn't stop eating it I was was afraid he was going to slip into a sugar coma. ha. Really, best recipe Ive ever tried.
    Thank you!

    1. You're very welcome, I'm so glad it worked well for you!

  6. I was following another recipe and choose liquid pectin. It also said to put water in the bottom of the pan about an inch high. Is there a difference between powder and liquid????

    1. I am not really sure. I've only ever used the powdered type, but I would assume it would be about the same.

  7. For the past several years I have been trying and trying to make prickly pear jelly. I can't get it to jell. I am so frustrated! What am I doing wrong? Becky Hagee Amarillo, TX

  8. I have tried and tried to make prickly pear jelly and I can't get it to jell. WHAT am I doing wrong????

    1. Hi Becky! I would make sure that you are using the exact measurements listed in the recipe and also make sure your sure-jell is not expired. Also, the boiling stage is VERY important. Make sure you follow those steps to get it to jell properly. Good luck!


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