I seem to be concentrating on recipes this week... the thing is that I'm helping my Mother put together a recipe book for my niece of all the "family" recipes, so I guess I got them on my mind...
That and I was looking at Aiyana's fabulous blog, Water When Dry, (link to the right) and she had some pictures of her optunia fruits that were ripening, and mentioned her prickly pear vinaigrette, and I remembered that I mentioned I was gonna publish this recipe back in May, and had let it slip my mind. Anyway, this is the recipe, easier than you'd think!
Prickly Pear Jelly
1 quart of Prickly Pears (or Tuna as they're called) to yield 2 1/2 cups of juice
1 package powdered pectin (the liquid doesn't work for this recipe)
3 Tablespoons lemon or lime juice
3 1/2 cups sugar
Use ripe fruit... If the fruit is very ripe, try to mix a few greenish ones in for natural pectin. It is not necessary to burn or cut off the spines, as they will disappear during the straining process... Wash the pears well, cut in half then place in a pot with water to cover. Boil till very tender and soft, this is necessary to get all the juice.
Strain through a jelly bag, or a collander lined with heavy gauze or lightweight muslin. hang the jelly bag to let the juice drip into a bowl, or tie the gauze or muslin and hang... let juice sit long enough for any sediment to settle. For clear jelly, don't use cloudy juice...
for every 2 1/2 cups juice, add 1 pkg powdered pectin. bring to a boil... add citrus juice & sugar. Bring to a boil that can't be stirred down, and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, skim (important for clear jelly) and pour into sterilized jars - seal with hot canning lids or hot paraffin.
The taste & color of the jelly depends on the variety & color of the pears... The ones in our back alley produce fruit that are deep purple, and make a jelly that is deep magenta and most people describe as tasting like cranberries and raspberries blended together.
You can also freeze the juice in 2 1/2 cup 'bricks' to make jelly later if your not up to making the recipe all in one day, or you're making a lot of juice at once...
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