Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Jelly making....

" Now when you pick a pawpaw
Or a prickly pear
And you prick a raw paw
Next time beware!
Don't pick the prickly pear by the paw
When you pick a pear
Try to use the claw
But you don't need to use the claw
When you pick a pear of the big pawpaw
Have I given you a clue? "  ~ excerpt from "The Bear Necessities"

lol.. ok so thats what my kids chant everytime the sneak another jar of jelly out of the pantry... or when we made prickly pear simple syrup for .. whatever. ;)  Did I tell you they were all comedians?

We had a plethera of prickly pear fruit again this year, so ... what the heck lets make some jelly!

Much easier said than done!

First.. ya gotta gather your fruit. Didnt' take us long at all, there were so many, and good sized ones too.

To pick these little beauties we used some long metal tongs .. and a shovel. Ok, I admit the shovel was just in case we came across a rattler, but they lucked out. Lots of fruit, no rattlers.
we gathered 2 buckets this size...
after picking you have to get rid of the spines on them, so we elected to lay them on our BBQ grill and took the propane torch to them. A quick pass over or two, then roll, repeat until all visable spines are gone.
Next it was time to scrub...
These are about the texture /firmness of a tomato thats just turning red.
What a fun color of juice these guys have! I was sure I would be magenta for days but nope. Just pretty pink for a few hours ;)
I had read several recipies on the internet, which alot of those seemed to have a hard time "setting up" . Prickly pear is low in pectin, but those recipies were peeling their fruit. hmmmm. I opted out of peeling, because I was always taught the pectin was in the fruit skin. So I decided to  simmere until soft enough to mash, then strain thru cheese cloth.
I have to add here that when my family came home they were pretty grossed out lol. Seems straining red thru the cheesecloth and the leftover pulp reminded them of.. uh well nevermind....
Now onto the jelly! Finally!!!
pectin sugar water and lemon added to the prickly pear juice...
waterbath.... to set the seals
and WA LAAAAAAAAAAAAAA Prickly Pear Jelly! Which, I might add as set up just wonderfully!
(btw I have several more batches of juice in the freezer just waiting to be finished lol)
Isn't it pretty?

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