Sunday, August 19, 2012
Cactus Pear Jelly
One quart cold cactus pear (tuna) juice
8 Tablespoons pectin (I used Ball Classic (dry) pectin; Surejell would be one box plus two tablespoons)
3.5 cups of cane (I used organic) sugar
Mix the pectin and juice together in a large saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil (a boil you cannot diminish by stirring). Gradually add the sugar, stirring constantly. By gradual, I mean about 1/4 cup at a time. Return to rolling boil and stir and boil until the syrup passes the Jelly Test according to the Ball Blue Book of Canning and Preserving: Dip a large spoon into boiling jelly sirup. Tilt spoon until sirup runs over the side. When the liquid has reached the jellying stage it will stop flowing from the spoon in a stream and divide into two distinct drops which run together and leave the edge of the spoon in one large flake or sheet. Stop the cooking at this point.
Put syrup into prepared jars. Process in water bath for five minutes. Remove from bath and allow jars to cool. Verify seal and store.
Notes to self and anyone else: The sugar amount I used was from the Ball Blue Book, which does have recipe amounts for cactus pears. I used the lower amount of sugar. There was no specific pectin amount given in the BBB, but a note that pectin was required. Because I knew that six tablespoons (one box of Surejell) wouldn't get the job done, I upped it to 8 T. I may try 7.5 tablespoons next time. I also did not add any citric acid or lemon juice as called for by many of the Internet recipes. I did add citric acid to my last (failed) batch.
I don't know if having the juice in fridge for a day or two changed the pH at all (it would with my goat milk!), so I just noted in the above recipe that I used cold juice (which I had juiced about 48 hours ago.) I am very pleased with my jelly! It set up within a few hours - no small feat with cactus!