Prickly Pear Jelly

*Center Staff Member Recipe from Rick Mick: Rick helps write and edit the Center’s action alerts, weekly e-newsletter and other email communications.

This recipe is adapted from the Prickly Pear Jelly Recipe on Root



Prickly Pear Jelly


  • 2 1/2 pounds prickly pear cactus fruit
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1 box of powdered pectin (18 teaspoons-note that not all pectin brands contain the same amount in a box, so measure it out to make sure)



Use tongs to hold each piece of fruit over the burner on your stove for a few seconds to burn off the spines. Use the non-cutting edge of a knife to scrape off the remaining spines.

Slice the fruit (no need to skin it) into quarters and put in a pot with just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Mash with a potato masher and strain the juice and water through a colander with two layers of cheesecloth to remove the seeds and pulp. This should yield approximately 2 1/2 cups of prickly pear cactus juice.

Combine 2 1/2 cups cactus juice, lemon juice and pectin in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil and allow to hard boil for 3 minutes (hard boil means the liquid continues to boil even when you stir it).

Add the sugar to the juice mixture and bring back to a hard boil for 2 minutes or until the jell point is reached (read here for an explanation of testing jell point).

To can your jelly: follow the Ball website’s instructions for water-bath canning high acid foods. Use 8 ounce canning jars and heat process for 10 minutes.

Photo courtesy of Rick Mick.