Prickly Pear Cactus and Cranberry Jelly

I have a large pricklypear cactus growing outside my back door. Most years it produces large numbers of dark pruple-red fruits. I make these into either jelly or syrup, depending on whether it sets or not. This year, I turned my less bountiful harvest into a variation on cranberry sauce–the jellied kind. You need a juice extractor to do this. In my experience, it pulls all the spines out of the cactus–even the tiniest ones. But check to make sure.

  • 24 or so ripe pricklypear cactus fruits
  • 1 bag fresh cranberries.
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 box pectin
  • 3 cups sugar

1. Wash the pricklypears and the cranberries. Run them through a juice extractor, and save the juice. Run the pulp back through a second time, with the lemon juice. Blend the two batches of juice. You should have about two and a half to three cups of juice.

2. In a saucepan, dissolve the pectin into the juice and bring to a boil. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Return to a boil and cook for two more minutes. Remove from heat. Skim the foam.

3. After boiling new canning jars and lids in the usual way (see instructions that come with the jars), fill the jars with the juice mixture and screw the lids on tightly. Process the filled jars in boiling water for 15 minutes.

4. Remove the jars from the boiler and turn them upside-down for about five minutes. Turn them upright again and allow to cool for an hour. Check to make sure all the seals are good and the lids have curved inward.

Makes about six eight-ounce jars.

No comments yet.