Confituras Prickly Pear Jelly

Courtesy of Stephanie McClenny, Confituras
Photography by Andy Sams

Yield depends on the amount of fruit used

The prickly pear cactus bears gorgeous magenta fruits, called tunas, in late summer and early fall. The flavor is lovely, with comparisons to melon, cucumber and berries. This jelly can also be used to color and flavor marinades, vinaigrettes and cocktails.

Note: For information about canning safety and canning practices, see National Center for Home Food Preservation (

Fairly difficult

Confituras Prickly Pear Jelly


For 1 Person(s)


  • Prickly pear fruits
  • Lime juice, strained
  • Pomona’s Universal Pectin (follow directions on box)
  • Organic cane sugar

Confituras Prickly Pear Jelly Directions

  1. Holding each tuna with tongs over a gas flame, burn off the spines—being careful not to touch the spines with your bare hands.
  2. Cut each tuna into quarters and place in a pot with just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then cover and lower the heat. Allow the mixture to slowly simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until the fruit is very soft.
  3. Pour the pulp and juice over a mesh colander draped with two layers of cheesecloth. Allow the fruit to drain overnight, and resist the temptation to press on the fruit to extract the juice (this could produce a cloudy juice, which is a big no-no in jelly making).
  4. Measure the juice and pour into a preserving pan or Dutch oven.
  5. For each cup of juice, add 1 tablespoon of lime juice and 1 teaspoon of calcium water to the juice. (Pomona’s pectin includes powdered calcium.)
  6. Thoroughly blend together ½ cup of sugar and ¾ teaspoon of pectin in a large bowl.
  7. Bring the juice to a rapid simmer. Add the sugar and the pectin mixture all at once to the boiling juice and stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes. Bring back to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat and allow it to sit for a few minutes, undisturbed.
  8. Fill sterilized glass canning jars to within ¼ inch of the top, screw on the lids and process in a hot-water bath for 10 minutes.

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