Prickly Pear Jelly: Tips and Techniques

Becky Low was first introduced to prickly pear cactus jelly by a 4-H leader while living in St. George years ago and now shares it with us.

Since it’s Prickly Pear season in Utah’s Dixie – try this recipe; perhaps make it now for a unique Christmas gift later.

Prickly Pears are the fruit of the prickly pear cactus. Called cactus pears, or cactus apples, or tuna. They are grow along the outer edges of the prickly pear pad. Colors range from deep red to yellow. The inside of the fruit is a deep magenta.

Q. Cactus ?! That means spines, needles and poking things. How do you pick them?

One recipe I looked at states: “1 peck prickly pears (remove needles from pears in the best way you know how).” Huh! Here’s a way. 1) I highly advise you pick pears carefully – with long tongs and leather gloves. Store the cactus apples in a paper sack until ready to use them. 2) To remove the spines either hold the cactus pears (using tongs) over hot stove burner for a few seconds, then scraping off remaining needles with a knife; or wash pears under running water, then brush needles off with a stiff brush.

1. quarter fruit, cover with water
2. cooked fruit, mash with potato masher
3. show cheese cloth lined strainer/colander
4. juice ready for sugar and pectin

If you’re lucky enough to live in Southern Utah keep your eyes open. Prickly Pears are abundant – even on the main street in St. George. Or in your back yard. In some locations they are considered a weed because they thrive and are so abundant.

If you are not lucky, or if you do not want to fight your way through needles – check out Harmon’s grocery store. They have them in stock right now. Big Bonus – if you buy cactus pears from Harmon’s – the needles have already been removed (but be careful just in case there is a stray).

There are all sorts of jelly recipes. We have posted three recipes, including Prickly Pear Jelly, on the Studio 5 Recipe website. But if you’re looking for more, there are plenty.

Below are unique jelly recipe websites. Try at your own risk. I am not responsible for the success or safety of the recipes. If nothing else, it’s a fun to look at the list and laugh at how unique we can get with our jelly recipes.

To mention just a couple:
Mountain Dew –
Corn Cob – huh?
Carrot Cake
Beet Juice – why use the juice from cooked beets??

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