Thursday, August 27, 2009

Prickly Pear Jelly

A neighbor down the street has a nicely landscaped yard filled with cactus. My kids have to pass it each day walking to and from the bus stop. They call it Cactus Alley. Earlier in the week, we notice their prickly pear cacti were dropping huge fruits. So last evening, Hubby and I went to meet the neighbors and ask them if they would let us have some of the fruit if they weren't going to use it. The said take what you want, so we did.

Hubby had a leather glove and a grocery sack. He picked a lot of fruit, about 8 pounds of it. We came home and I started to read about making jelly from the fruit. Hubby, meanwhile, started to pull the needles from his fingers where they went though the gloves.

I don't do jelly much, in fact, I've only done it once. I don't keep the supplies around to can things on a moment's notice. After some research, I had simple step-by-step instructions. With the use of tongs, I washed the fruit, cut them into quarters and boiled the fruit. I ran to the store for cheesecloth, lids, and pectin. I had about 6 jars without lids that were in good use condition. Last night before going to bed, I drained the juice though a strainer and ended up with a lot of beautiful orange juice.

Draining the fruit. It isn't pretty once it's been boiled and mashed.

The most beautiful orange I've ever seen. I'm always amazed at the colors in nature.

This morning, with instruction in hand, I made the jelly. I'm never sure if it works. I guess every one who makes jelly has the same worry. I'll know tomorrow by 11:00 am if the jelly set or not. If not, I guess we'll have prickly pear syrup. Isn't it a gorgeous color?

I was able to get 8 cups of juice out of those fruits. My recipe only used 2 1/2 cups and I got enough to fill 3 of the 8 quart jelly jars. I'll be doing two more batches. I need a lot more jars! I want some small jars. If this works, I want to be able to give some away as gifts. There is no way we'll be able to eat all the jelly we'll be able to make from this batch of juice. Watch out, friends, you might get a jar of Molly-made Prickly Pear Jelly for Christmas!

1 comment:

SLC said...

That's exciting! I've never made jelly - very impressive!