Prickly Pear Cactus Jam/jelly

Discussion in 'Food & Drinks' started by Diane Lane, Jul 26, 2015.

  1. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    Has anyone here ever made prickly pear cactus jam/jelly? I've never even heard of it, until I saw someone posting a pic of the blooms (I guess they're blooms, although they look like colored cacti) on social media, stating they were going to make some jam.

    This is what the pic they posted looked like, but I have no idea how to go about making jam or jelly from them, or which parts are used. Are there supposed to be flowers, as well, or just the cactus parts? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Prickly_pear_cactus_beed.jpg
     
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  2. Sheldon Scott

    Sheldon Scott Very Well-Known Member
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    We have lots of prickly pears here. I've eaten the fruit when I was a boy but never made jam or anything. They have beautiful flowers.
     
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  3. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    Apparently, we have them here, as well, although up until this point, I was unaware of their presence. I've never made jam or jelly, except I think maybe fridge or freezer jam one time long ago, but it sounds interesting, especially in small batches. Do you remember what the taste was like? Now I'll have to go in search for a pic of their flowers :).
     
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  4. Corie Henson

    Corie Henson Very Well-Known Member
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    May I disturb this thread for a moment? I am just curious upon reading prickly pear. From what I understand, prickly means thorns. Correct me if I'm wrong on this.

    Anyway, when my husband was in California, he told me that he was invited to a mountain resort in the town (or city) or Santa Rosa. After the first night, he woke up early to roam the forest-like resort. He spotted a small plum tree called sugar plum with the ripe plums tasting like sugary sweet. And then he espied a tall tree that happened to be pear. He got some fruits by throwing pieces of wood on the fruit. I remembered that he said about not climbing the tree because of the thorns.

    Now, my question is this - is that pear tree that my husband had encountered the one you call prickly pear?
     
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  5. Sheldon Scott

    Sheldon Scott Very Well-Known Member
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    No, Corie. A prickly pear is a cactus with broad flat leaves. It grows fairly close to the ground. The leaves are covered with small thorns.
     
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  6. Sheldon Scott

    Sheldon Scott Very Well-Known Member
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    [​IMG]

    Prickly Pear
     
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  7. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    I'm going to have to see about getting some. I should be able to grow one here, since they obviously grow locally, in the wild.
     
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  8. Joyce Mcgregor

    Joyce Mcgregor Well-Known Member
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    My Mom made Prickly Pear jelly and jam all of the time. I grew up in Texas where it seems to grow everywhere. Some of my fondest memories are driving down old dirt roads and pulling over, pulling on our thick gloves and picking the gorgeous purplish red fruits from the cactus. Mom would then singe the thorns from the fruit using the flame from our gas stove and then start the process of making the jelly. It was such a gorgeous red color when poured into the jars. If for some reason, it did not set properly, we would pour it over pancakes, waffles and ice cream. So good. You do have to make sure the little fruits are very ripe.

    Prickly Pear Jelly

    I gallon ripe prickly pear fruit
    4 cups of the juice
    4 cups sugar
    2 pkgs pectin

    Using tongs, swish the fruit in water to remove stickers ( the using of the gas flame to do this works better)
    Cut fruit in half, place in large pan. Cook until fruit is shriveled.
    Mash with potato masher. Strain through jelly bag or cheese cloth.
    Bring juice and pectin to a boil.
    Add sugar and boil until it reaches jelly stage on a cooking thermometer.
    Pour into jelly jars and seal
     
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  9. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    Thanks, Joyce, is there another flavor you can equate it with, so I will have an idea of whether I'd like it? I've never seen it sold in stores here, although it's probably available at some of the larger farmer's markets and maybe flea markets.
     
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  10. Allison Schuck

    Allison Schuck Active Member
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    I would love to try a small batch of this. I think it would be delicious. Joyce do you know how to convert that recipe to a small batch, like with about 6 - 10 prickly pears?
     
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  11. Jennifer Graves

    Jennifer Graves Active Member
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    Oh man, y'all have made me hungry. I wouldn't mind some of that jam on some buttery toast, right now. It would make a wonderful desert tonight!
     
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  12. Allison Schuck

    Allison Schuck Active Member
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    I agree Jenn, even right now with my coffee. :)
     
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  13. Jennifer Graves

    Jennifer Graves Active Member
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    I had to settle for strawberry preserves. And it was good, but I would love to try the prickly pear
     
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  14. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    I seem to go through phases. Usually, I love strawberry or raspberry jam/jelly, but right now, I'm in a concord grape and (separately) marmalade phase.
     
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  15. Corie Henson

    Corie Henson Very Well-Known Member
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    Strawberry jam used to be my favorite. When I was young, strawberry jam can only be bought in Baguio City, that's a city in the mountains that is around 300 kilometers from Metro Manila where we live. A vacationer in Baguio would usually come home with several bottles of strawberry jam for giveaways to relatives and friends. The strawberry business in that city was booming because when fresh strawberries are not sold, they are made into jam.

    With the progress - we have imported fruits in the market now - strawberry jam's popularity had greatly waned. In our last trips to Baguio City, we never bought a single bottle of that jam. What's in vogue now is the ube jam (yam) and other new delicacies like the chocolate crinkles.
     
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  16. Jennifer Graves

    Jennifer Graves Active Member
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    I am a huge chocolate lover, (in both senses, lol) I'm curious... what is chocolate crinkles?
     
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  17. Avigail David

    Avigail David Well-Known Member
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    2015-08-06 12 20 36.jpg View attachment 517 View attachment 517
    We have several of cactus "weeds" growing in our property. They fruit in autumn/ fall. The skin is very prickly and stingy. We use fork and knife to cut through the soft and ripened fruit. And then, scoop the juicy flesh with a dessert spoon. We, sometimes, add the scooped flesh into a smoothie mix with green apples, papaya, blueberries and other fruit we fancy drinking with prickly pear smoothie.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 5, 2015
  18. Corie Henson

    Corie Henson Very Well-Known Member
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    @Avigail David, thank you for posting that photo of the prickly pear cactus. Now I remember seeing that type of cactus here. In fact, I have a photo, from what I remember. Just give me time so I would remember where exactly is that. However, what I saw was only the cactus and sans the fruit. This is the first time I have seen a fruit like that. It reminds me of our dragon fruit which is also a cactus with a fruit that is succulent. Can you eat the fruits like that or do you have to cook it?
     
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  19. Helene Lawson

    Helene Lawson Active Member
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    While on my trip to Greece, I have seen those growing. I even took a few photos with my phone, a cat was hiding under them because of the harsh sun there.
     
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  20. Joyce Mcgregor

    Joyce Mcgregor Well-Known Member
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    Unfortuneately, I cannot think of anything to compare the taste to. All I know is that all 4 of us kids loved it and could not wait until the little fruits would ripen so we would have more of it.
     
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  21. Joyce Mcgregor

    Joyce Mcgregor Well-Known Member
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    Toward the end of prickly pear season when the fruits were not so abundant, my mom would just half her recipe. I am sure that you can 1/4 the recipe to make just a smaller batch of jelly to try.
     
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  22. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    We used to get prickly pears in East Africa. People would sell them from big sacks by the side of the road and they are really thirst-quenching on a hot day (as just about every day was). The only drawback was those vicious little spines on the fruits...they seemed to stick in your fingers for days.
     
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  23. John Donovan

    John Donovan Active Member
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    I never even knew that it was possible to do such a thing with cacti! It's amazing that such prickly plants can make such delicious sweets!
     
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  24. Corie Henson

    Corie Henson Very Well-Known Member
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    This prickly pear is now a puzzle to us. My husband and I are both sure that we have taken a photo of that prickly pear cactus in one of our vacations. I remember shoooting the camera with my husband playfully posing by the cactus that is taller than him. And after the shot, my husband commented that it is an edible cactus. The succulent part is made into a dish of seafood.

    Until now we are still on the hunt of that missing photo. I really cannot remember what place it was taken but it was last year.
     
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  25. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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