My husband and I moved to the state of Arizona right after we were married. The state is so beautiful and we lived in the White Mountains. The one thing I wasn’t expecting was the snow. I thought I had moved away from all that. We had to get out of town one snowy weekend, so we took a road trip to Mesa. On the way through the desert, I noticed that the prickly pear cactus had numerous red, round bulbs attached to them. We stopped along the side of the road to investigate. What a great discovery! Later, we did some research and found it was a fruit and you could make many things with it. We drove back down the following weekend and picked a bunch of the fruit to try our hand at making jelly. The following is the recipe we came up with to make the Dusterhoft Family Prickly Pear Jelly.
1-2 pounds of Prickly Pear Fruit, peeled
1 cup apple juice
1-2 packages of Sure Jell Premium Fruit Pectin
4 ½ cups sugar (Use C&H Pure Cane Sugar, it’s best for jelly)
½ cup lemon juice
1. Using a sharp knife and gloves, peel the prickly pear fruit. Be careful because they have really sharp thorns just like the cactus.
2. Cut the fruit into cubes and drop them into a large sauce pan.
3. Add the Sure Jell and apple juice.
4. Bring to a slow boil. Be sure to stir often so the mixture does not stick to the sides or bottom of the pan. Use a potato masher to break down any lumps of fruit.
5. Add the sugar and lemon juice and continue to stir until the mixture thickens. If the mixture is not thickening enough, add additional pectin.
6. Bring to a full boil for two complete minutes.
7. Remove from the heat and skim the top.
8. Fill clean jars and seal jars according to proper canning procedures.
Source: The above recipe comes from this writer’s personal family recipe files.