Prickly Pear Jelly

Prickly Pear Jelly

Matty’s granny is known for her skills in the kitchen and frequently makes a variety of fruit jellies. About 10 years ago the two of them collaborated on a prickly pear jelly with the cactus fruits Matty had harvested in the field. Recently, Matty harvested about half a bucket of the “tunas” and they decided to make some more jelly, with help from Granny, of course.

You can find a number of recipes online, but it is basically the juice made from boiling the prickly pears in water, sugar, lemon juice, and pectin. That’s it.

The tricky part is harvesting and working with the tunas (wear gloves!). Those really fine spines get everywhere and you might find them in odd places long after you’re done cooking.

So we start with a bucket of tunas:
Prickly Pear Jelly

Matty cuts them in half:
Prickly Pear Jelly

Add water and boil:
Prickly Pear Jelly

Mash gently to extract more juice:
Prickly Pear Jelly

Three generations in the kitchen, shown here preparing to strain the juice:
Prickly Pear Jelly

Don’t forget to have a tasty beverage close at hand! This is tough work!
Prickly Pear Jelly

Even veteran jelly-makers read directions:
Prickly Pear Jelly

Adding the sugar and pectin to the prickly pear juice and lemon juice:
Prickly Pear Jelly

Make sure you have a large enough pot because it will bubble up quite a bit while cooking:
Prickly Pear Jelly

Pour into clean, sanitized jars (lids, too!):
Prickly Pear Jelly

It might get a little messy, but look at that beautiful color!
Prickly Pear Jelly

Enjoy your prickly pear jelly!
Prickly Pear Jelly

We doubled a recipe and still had juice leftover, so we kept some in jars for a possible beer adjunct in the future.