Prickly pear jelly is a delightful treat made from the fruit of the prickly pear cactus, which grows abundantly in desert climates.
This vibrant magenta-colored jelly has an exquisite, unique taste that combines the sweetness of berries with the delightful tang of cactus fruit.
The recipe for this jelly is surprisingly simple and can be enjoyed by experienced and novice jelly-makers.
In this article, you will find a comprehensive prickly pear jelly recipe with clear instructions and helpful tips.
From learning how to safely harvest the prickly pears to ensuring the perfect jelly consistency, you will be guided through each step of the process.
The result will be a deliciousand unique treat that you can enjoy on your morning toast or share with friends and family.
Remember to be patient and enjoy the adventure as you embark on your prickly pear jelly-making journey.
With your dedication and the helpful information provided in this article, you will soon master the art of making this delectable jelly right from the comfort of your own kitchen.
How to Make Prickly Pear Jelly
- 27 prickly pear fruits (cactus fruit)
- 3 cups prickly pear juice extracted from the cactus fruit
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 (1.75 ounces) package of fruit pectin (such as Sure-Jell® powdered pectin)
- 4 1/2 cups white sugar
To collect prickly pear fruit without getting the painful prickles on you, cut the top half off of a 16-ounce/500-mL plastic beverage bottle and place the bottle around each pricklypear fruit(without touching the fruit).
Twist and bend the bottle to detach the fruit from the plant.
Slice the ends of each fruit and make one long vertical slit down each one.
Place the peeled fruit in a food processor or blender and puree until liquefied.
Press the puree through a fine mesh sieve over a bowl to separate the juice from the pulp and seeds.
Discard the pulp and seeds.
Measure threecups of prickly pear juice for the recipe.
In a large pot, combine the measured prickly pear juice, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and the package of powdered fruit pectin.
Stir the mixture thoroughly.
Place the pot over medium heat and bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring continually.
Once boiling, add the 4 1/2 cups of sugar and return the mixture to a boil.
Ensure that it reaches a full rolling boil where stirring doesn’t stop the boiling, and then let it boil for exactly 1 minute.
To check if the jelly has reached the desired consistency, use a metal spoon and scoop a small amount of the mixture.
Let it cool to room temperature.
If the jelly has a jam-like texture, it’s ready.
If not, boil the jelly for another minute and check again.
Fill the jars to within 1/4 inch of the top and seal with 2-part canning lids.
Process the prickly pear jelly in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes, ensuring that the lids are at least 1 inch below the water line.
Remove the jars from the canner and allow them to cool completely before checking the seals.
Now, you have successfully made your delicious Prickly Pear Jelly.
Enjoy spreading it on toast or using it in various recipes!
Side Dishes for Prickly Pear Jelly
Prickly pear jelly is a versatile and delicious spread that can be enjoyed with a variety of side dishes.
Here are a few options to consider when planning a meal or snack to enjoy with your prickly pear jelly.
Scones or Biscuits
Scones or sweet or savory biscuits are another delightful side dish to enjoy with prickly pear jelly.
The crumbly texture of scones and biscuits is the perfect canvas for the jelly to shine through, making this combination a satisfying treat any time of the day.
Try glazing your grilled chicken with prickly pear jelly for a unique and flavorfultwist.
The jelly’s sweet and tart tastes will enhance the chicken’s taste and emphasize its natural flavors, making it a memorable and tasty side dish.
Fruit and Cheese Platters
Pairing prickly pear jelly with a selection of fruits and cheeses can make for a delicious and elegant appetizer.
Choose a variety of cheese types, such as brie, cheddar, or gouda, as well as fresh fruits like grapes or sliced apples.
The flavors of the fruits and cheeses will complement the jelly and create a delightful culinary experience.
Yogurt or Ice Cream
Try serving a dollop of prickly pear jelly on top of your favorite yogurt or ice cream for a sweet treat.
The tartness of the jelly adds a lovely contrast to the sweetness of the yogurt or ice cream, making for a refreshing and enjoyable dessert.
Feel free to get creative and think of other ways to incorporate prickly pear jelly into your meals.
The variety of flavors and textures it offers gives you endless possibilities when it comes to choosing the perfect side dishes.
You can substitute lemon juice for lime juice or white vinegar.
Lime juice shares similar acidity and fruit flavors, making it suitable for prickly pear jelly recipes.
Meanwhile, white vinegar provides the necessary acidity without any overpowering flavors.
Prickly Pear Juice substitutes
If you don’t have access to prickly pear juice, consider using other cactus fruit juices, such as dragon fruit or guava juice.
These alternatives will provide a similar texture and tropical flavor profile to your jelly.
You can use various brands of pectin in place of boxed pectin.
Some popular alternatives include Sure-Jell, Certo, and Pomona’s Universal Pectin.
Utilize any of these brands in your prickly pear jelly recipe to obtain proper gelling results.2
How to Store Prickly Pear Jelly
When making prickly pear jelly, it is essential to properly store the jelly to ensure its quality and shelf life.
In this section, we will discuss the various storage methods that you can follow.
First, you need to prepare jars with lids to store the jelly.
Before use, wash the jars, lids, and rings in warm, soapy water.
This is an important step to remove any contaminants and keep your jelly safe for consumption.
Boiling water bath sealing process
Next, make use of a hot water bath or boiling water bath for the sealing process.
This technique involves placing the filled jars into a pot of water, ensuring that the water level is at least an inch above the jar tops.
Once the water reaches a rolling boil, allow the jars to process for the recommended time, usually around 10-15 minutes for half-pint jars.
This method effectively seals the jars, preventing any air from entering and preserving the jelly.
An alternative to using a boiling water bath is a water bath canner.
This appliance is designed specifically for preserving foods and can hold several jars at once.
Keep in mind that the processing time may vary depending on the canner, so check the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended processing time.
During the cooling process, let the jars rest undisturbed on a towel or in a draft-free area for about 12-24 hours.
You should hear a popping sound when the jars have properly sealed.
To check the seal, press the center of the lid; if it does not move up and down, it is properly sealed and ready for storage.
Once the jars have cooled and sealed, label them with the date and contents, then store them in a cool, dry, and dark place, away from direct sunlight.
Properly stored prickly pear jelly should last for up to a year; however, once opened, it should be refrigerated and consumed within a few weeks.
By following these storage instructions, you can ensure that your prickly pear jelly remains fresh and safe to enjoy, allowing you to savor the delightful flavors of this unique desert fruit throughout the year.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Here are the most common mistakes to avoid when preparing Prickly Pear Jelly:
Not Using a Wide Mouth Funnel
Using a wide-mouth funnel when pouring the hot jelly mixture into the jars will help ensure a clean and efficient transfer.
Without it, you may spill the mixture, make a mess, and risk scorching yourhands.
Forgetting an Inch Headspace
It’s crucial to leave about an inch of headspace in each jar while filling with the jelly mixture.
This allows for proper expansion during the heat process and also keeps the jelly from overflowing and causing a mess.
Improper Heat Process
The heat process is essential for preserving the jelly and ensuring a proper seal on the jars.
Failing to follow the recommended heat processing time can lead to spoilage or decreased shelf life for your prickly pear jelly.
Always double-check the required processing time and follow it strictly.
By avoiding these common mistakes, you can avoid potential mishaps and create delicious, high-quality, prickly pear jelly that you can enjoy and share with friends and family.
Prickly Pear Jelly Recipe
- 1 large pot
- 16-ounce/500-mL plastic beverage bottle
- 1 food processor
- 1 bowl
- 2-part canning lids.
- 27 prickly pear fruits cactus fruit
- 3 cups prickly pear juice extracted from the cactus fruit
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 1.75 ounces package of fruit pectin (such as Sure-Jell® powdered pectin)
- 4 1/2 cups white sugar
- To collect prickly pear fruit without getting the painful prickles on you, cut the top half off of a 16-ounce/500-mL plastic beverage bottle and place the bottle around each prickly pear fruit (without touching the fruit).Twist and bend the bottle to detach the fruit from the plant.Slice the ends of each fruit and make one long vertical slit down each one.
- Place the peeled fruit in a food processor or blender and puree until liquefied.Press the puree through a fine mesh sieve over a bowl to separate the juice from the pulp and seeds.Discard the pulp and seeds.Measure three cups of prickly pear juice for the recipe.
- In a large pot, combine the measured prickly pear juice, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and the package of powdered fruit pectin.Stir the mixture thoroughly.
- Place the pot over medium heat and bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring continually.Once boiling, add the 4 1/2 cups of sugar and return the mixture to a boil.Ensure that it reaches a full rolling boil where stirring doesn't stop the boiling, and then let it boil for exactly 1 minute.
- To check if the jelly has reached the desired consistency, use a metal spoon and scoop a small amount of the mixture.Let it cool to room temperature.If the jelly has a jam-like texture, it's ready.If not, boil the jelly for another minute and check again.
- Fill the jars to within 1/4 inch of the top and seal with 2-part canning lids.Process the prickly pear jelly in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes, ensuring that the lids are at least 1 inch below the water line.Remove the jars from the canner and allow them to cool completely before checking the seals.Now, you have successfully made your delicious Prickly Pear Jelly.Enjoy spreading it on toast or using it in various recipes!