Sunday, December 1, 2013

Prickly Pear Jelly...........

I have been eyeing a rather large Prickly Pear just up the road from the farm ever since we moved in this fall. I comment on the ripening fruit and my desire to turn it into jelly. Thanks to a post from a friend about the need for gloves during this process to avoid bright purple hands, I finally went and picked some today. I am a huge fan of free fruit you can turn into jelly and other goodies!

You can't tell from the pictures but this beauty is taller than I am :)

Look how nice and deep purple the fruit is!

A basket full is acquired with the help of a long pair of tongs. Don't try to pick with your bare hands the  hairs are wicked. Gloves are not a good option either because you just end up with the little spines all over your gloves.

I burned the hair spines off over and open flame. You can just leave them on and cook your batch down, the straining step will remove them.

Aren't they gorgeous!

I dice them up before cooking them down. They are a deep red purple on the inside. I pealed and diced a couple of oranges into this batch and cooked them down, no water is added. Just start on a low setting and the fruit will weep enough liquid that you don't need to add water.

The start of the cooking down process.

 Getting close. After the batch was cooked down really well I strained the pulp off with a regular colander.

After the colander I poured everything into a cheese cloth bag for the final strain. I added about three cups of sugar to the juice, brought it up to a boil then added liquid pectin. On the next batch I am going to leave the pectin out and see how well it sets up just off the extra pectin from adding the orange pulp. I have had really good luck with this method with cranberries.

All jarred up and ready for the water bath. I water bathed these for five minutes.

 The beauty of that little bit extra that doesn't quite fill a jar is you can put it in the fridge and enjoy right away guilt free!

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