Prickly Pear (Opuntia)

This is my favorite fruit. You probably have it in your neighborhood if you live in California or in a Mediterranean climate – yet it is extremely versatile and grows in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 10. Known commonly to Native Americans and Mexicans, this delicious cactus fruit must be handled properly to avoid the spines as well as the smaller, furry glochids.

Prickly Pear Syrup

Ingredients

2 cups of prickly pear juice
*Before eating, be sure to process the fruit (or pears) properly by skinning and removing the spines and glochids. Follow processing steps above to get the juice.
1 and 3/4 tsp sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 – 2 packs of pectin
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients (besides pectin) and bring to a rolling boil.
  2. Add pectin and maintain boil for one minute. Remove from heat.
  3. To increase the jell of the syrup, cook longer or add more pectin at the end.
  4. Use the spoon test to roughly check the viscosity (how liquidy the syrup is): take a cold (at least room temp) spoon and dunk it in the liquid. Drag your finger across the spoon – if the syrup fills the space immediately, then its pretty liquidy (good for mixed drinks) – if the syrup leaves the space for a few seconds before filling the spoon, then it will be good for pancake syrup.
  5. Please be mindful that prickly pear is a low-acid food and cannot be water-bath canned safely.
  6. Store in the fridge and enjoy in the next few months!!

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