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!
- 3½ cups prickly pear juice
- 1 cup water
- 1 package sure-jell low sugar pectin
- 3 cups sugar
- TO MAKE JUICE:
- 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.
- STRAIN juice through a jelly bag or cheesecloth.
- TO MAKE JELLY:
- RINSE clean plastic containers and lids with boiling water. Dry thoroughly.
- 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.
- FILL all containers immediately to within ½ 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.