Unlike many other prickly pear cactus jelly recipes floating around cookbooks and the Internet, done properly, this one works.
2 cups Prickly Pear Juice
1 cup apple juice
2-3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar mixed with package Sure-Jell Light
Mix ingredients together gently, in a large stock pot. Follow directions for jellies on Sure-Jell package.
For the Juice: The fruits of most prickly pears are sold in stores under the name 'tuna'. With tongs and a bucket, gather tunas when they have turned a dark burgandy color. Cut in half (no need to remove the prickles).
Suggestions for the juice: Hold with a fork and cut in half. Place in a pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil for 30 minutes. Strain through muslin or wet guaze four times.
Recipe makes 6 to 8 cups.
Prickly Pear Puree
Wash and peel ripe prickly pears. Cut in half with a knife and scoop out the seeds. Force the raw pulp through a medium to fine strainer. Freeze either fruit pulp or the puree. Simply pack into freezer containers and seal. Thaw before using.
Nutrition Nibble: Some studies show that the pectin in the prickly pear pulp can help lower levels of "bad" cholesterol. Both fruits and pads of the prickly pear are rich in slowly absorbed soluble fibers, which help stabilize blood sugar levels. Studies are on-going to learn more.
Prickly pear has traditionally been used to promote healing -- specifically, as a treatment for inflammatory skin diseases, eye inflammation, intestinal tract inflammation, urinary tract inflammation, burns and joint or muscle inflammation. Now, science has validated these uses.
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