10:18:00 PM
I hope that when I am no longer able to can I have done all the weirdest fruits and veggies on the planet that are edible. Not for the sustainability but for the variety and the experience of trying something new and amazing. 

I went to my favorite store, an out of the way spot, where the owner gets organic fruits and some of the rarer ones that I don't see at the farmers market or in your classic grocery store. This week he had Prickly Pears or Cactus fruit and Fuyu Persimmons (the crunchy kind) and at a great price, 99c lb. I have tried a few recipe as jams with the persimmons and found that after a few months they have a starchy texture so now I only use them for snacks or added in slices or cubes to other fruits.

The Prickly Pears were what I was really excited about using. My dad has quite a few cactus around his house but I have been afraid to pick those off and use them. I decided to pick up about a pound and try my hand at making jelly. 

The color is amazing and it was easy to prep the fruit and just as easy to extract the juice for making the jelly. There is a rind and lots of seeds so a lot of this goes to waste. This is a small batch and can be expanded if you use a flex batch pectin such as Pomona or Ball. 

Prickly Pear Jelly

1 lb cactus fruit
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 T. bottled lemon juice
2 t. Pomona Pectin
2 t. calcium water OR
1 1/2 T. Ball Flex batch low sugar/no sugar pectin

Preparation: Cut the ends off the fruit and peel them. Cut them lengthwise. 
Prepare 2 half pint jars.

Cooking: Place all fruit and water into a small stockpot and low simmer the fruit for about an hour to extract the juice. Strain the juice through a small mesh strainer or through a jelly bag.  Measure the juice and add water to get to two cups.

  • Pomona pectin: Add calcium water and lemon juice. Bring the juice to a boil. Mix pectin and sugar together and add all at once. Stir into the juice and continue to stir until the sugar is dissolved, about two minutes. Bring back to a boil for one minute and remove from the heat. 
  • Ball Flex batch pectin: Add sugar and lemon juice, stir an
    d bring the juice to a boil. Add pectin, stir in and continue to boil for one minute.  Remove from heat.

Filling the jars:  On a dishtowel place your hot jars and using your funnel in each jar fill the jars with to 1/4"  headspace.   Remove air bubbles and refill to the proper headspace if necessary. Taking a clean papertowel wet it and wipe the rims of the jars removing any food particles that would interfere with a good seal. Using your magic wand extract the lids from the hot water and place them on the now cleaned rims. Add your rings to the tops of each of the jars and turn to seal just "finger tight". 

Place the jars in the water bath making sure that the water covers each of the jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add hot water to the canner if it doesn't measure up. Cover the pot and turn up the heat under the canner and wait for the water to start boiling. Once the water has come to a boil start your timer for 10 minutes. When complete turn off the heat and remove the cover and let the jars sit for another few minutes. Remove the jars and place them back on the dishtowel in a place that they will sit overnight to cool. Do not touch or move them till the next morning.

Sealing: Sometime in the next hour your jars will be making a "pinging" or "popping" noise. That is the glass cooling and the reaction of the lids being sucked into the jar for proper sealing. Some recipes may take overnight to seal. Check your lids and reprocess any jars that did not seal. Remove rings for storage. 

Labeling: Make sure to label your jars after they have cooled with the name of the recipe and the date canned. If you want to use the shrink labels in the picture you can order them Here!

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