I never had any intentions of taking on this project.  For this reason, I am a huge advocate for Bountiful Baskets.  Because of this CO-OP I now love figs, persimmons, indian squash and so many other fun fruits and veggies that we so often walk right past at the supermarket!  The weekend before this jam project our baskets included prickly pears!  And lots of them!  I had never had a prickly pear before and they are so interesting.  I love the sweet and subtle flavor and it just seemed like it would make a delicious jelly.

Finding a recipe for an easy prickly pear freezer jelly was surprisingly difficult.  I found a few ideas here and there and finally one website suggested using Sure-Jell’s recipe for sour cherry replacing the cherry juice with prickly pear juice.

Then there was figuring out how to juice a prickly pear!  This was by far the most helpful on how to juice them.  Luckily mine were already de-thorned so I didn’t have to deal with pricklys!  I cut off the ends of the fruit, cut them in half…

And used a spoon to scoop out the flesh.  They are FULL of seeds and there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to remove them.  A few sites recommended throwing them in a juicer-but the downside is the seeds often are juiced as well and taint the flavor.

I took the prickly pear flesh and added all of it to a saucepan.

And mushed it a little.

And then covered it will a bit of water-just enough to barely cover the fruit.

I brought that to a boil and tried to skim a bit of the foam off the top.

I got a cheesecloth ready to go in a glass bowl.

And dumped the whole thing in.  If I owned a strainer with fine little holes in it I would have done that…but I don’t so cheesecloth it was!!

Now, if you are a patient person you let it cool and then wring it out.  I am not.  I burn my hands every time wringing and then end up squishing the remaining juice out with a wooden spoon.

After all of that effort, I am left with a cup of juice!!

Unfortunately the recipe calls for 3 1/2 cups of juice (which I do not have) so I improvised and cut the recipe down a third.  This is about a third of a box of the pectin, 1 cup of sugar and 1/3 C water. (Be sure to whisk the pectin and sugar together before adding the water or else this can happen).

I pulled that off the heat after it had boiled for a minute or so and added my prickly pear juice.  I had enough to fill 2 1/2 jars!

It is delicious and sweet!  I absolutely love the unique flavor-and it goes so great on homemade bread with butter!

This delicious jelly is the perfect taste of how sweet the desert can be.
  • 3 1/2 cups prickly pear juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 package sure-jell low sugar pectin
  • 3 cups sugar
  2. WASH prickly pears and remove prickles. Cut off ends of fruit, cut in half and scoop flesh into saucepan. Add enough water to cover fruit. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. STRAIN juice through a jelly bag or cheesecloth.
  5. RINSE clean plastic containers and lids with boiling water. Dry thoroughly.
  6. WHISK sugar and pectin in small saucepan. Add water and bring to boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat and add fruit to mixture.
  7. FILL all containers immediately to within 1/2 inch of tops. Wipe off top edges of containers; immediately cover with lids. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours. Jelly is now ready to use. Store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks or freeze extra containers up to 1 year. Thaw in refrigerator before using.


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