Oct 11, 2012 22:41 pm
- Posted by
A few days ago, our friend Rebecca sends Sandi a text that says she has tunas for us. To which Sandi replies, “Did you go fishing? No wonder your back hurts.” It turns out, she meant the OTHER tuna.
The name “tuna” is the Spanish word used for the fruit of Opuntia ficus-indica, or the Prickly Pear Cactus. Around here (Sonoma) there are some of these cacti that date back to the time of the mission (early-19th century). Folks have planted it all over the state, and it is also commercially grown for the fruit, as well as the paddles (nopales). It’s a staple in the Spanish speaking population of California.
Which means… I’ve never had it. Truly. I grew up in Michigan, not California. Although I’ve lived here for almost 20 years, for some reason I’ve never had the opportunity. Anyway, our friend (remember her) dropped off a bag full of tunas last night. There were WAY more than I could possibly eat before they went bad, so I did the only other reasonable thing… I made jelly, of course.
I understand that this particular fruit can come in many different colors. The fruit Rebecca gave us was a bright magenta. It was stunning.
I’ve actually always wanted to make prickly pear jelly, but never had the opportunity until now. The following recipe is something I developed based on my experience with canning over the past several years. The fruit is not particularly high is acid, so I added a significant amount of lemon juice so that it could be processed in a water bath canner. I chose no-sugar pectin, for two reasons. First, I’ve found that it sets better than regular pectin. Second, the fruit has a delicate flavor and I didn’t want that to be overwhelmed with too much sugar.
Prickly Pear Jelly
I've always wanted to make prickly pear jelly, but never had the opportunity until now. The following recipe is something I developed based on my experience with canning over the past several years.
- 12-15 prickly pears (yields about 4 cups of juice)
- 6 tablespoons lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
- 1 packet no-sugar pectin
- 3 cups sugar
||Peel each pear first by removing all the needles. Best to wear gloves during this process. It can be done by either burning or rubbing them off. Then cut off each end and make a slice with a knife lengthwise. Depending on how ripe the fruit is, you can either peel off the skin by hand, or you can run a knife around the inside of the skin to remove it. |
Once all the pears are peeled, process them in a food mill to create a pulpy liquid. Push the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the seeds and pulp from the juice. Discard the seeds and pulp.
||Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside. |
Combine prickly pear juice, lemon juice, and pectin in a large sauce pan. Bring to a hard boil. (A hard boil is when the pot continues to boil, even after you've stirred it)
||Add the sugar all at once and bring back to a hard boil, stirring constantly. Boil for one minute. |
||Remove from heat and ladle into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch of head space. Wipe rims thoroughly. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight. |
Process jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and remove lid from canner. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before removing jars from water. Place on a wire rack or cutting board to cool overnight. Once completely cool, tighten lids and store.
This entry was posted in Preserving
and tagged Canning
, Prickly Pear
. Bookmark the permalink