Home: Jam

We love jam and jelly and preserves. I eat them on yogurt on toast and I often use it on meats for a glaze with a bit of sweetness. In the last year I’ve made all sorts of varieties. This last week I finally walked to the end of our yard and picked some prickly pears for jelly!


I have to say, I’ve kinda avoided this as I really hate stickers! But I read on the internets that you can burn the stickers off and that really helps things. It totally works, I got around 3 or 4 stickers in my hands the whole time I made the jelly. One of them was on the pitcher of juice in the fridge a day after I picked them so you know those stickers are wily!

I boiled it for ten minutes of so to loosen up all the pulp and then strained it in dish towels for a few hours. Do you buy cheese cloth? I don’t, I buy those 99cent dish cloths from ikea in bulk and toss ’em in the rag bin when they start to look gross.  The next day I had about 3 quarts of juice. I put about 9 cups in my great big jelly pan and let it oil for a few minutes to reduce just a titch, then I added 5 cups of sugar, I prolly could have gone a bit lower on the sugar but jelly has me adding more sugar as I hate when it doesn’t set. To the juice/sugar combo I added about 2 cups of lemon juice and then I slowly started adding some really hot habanero hot sauce we had in the fridge. I wanted this to be spicy but not overwhelm the delicate prickly pear flavor. Once I had it to the right flavor I added a bit more to compensate for the canning process, everything seems to get less spicy when it’s done. Then I added 6-7 tablespoons of the low sugar pectin I typically use until I got a nice thick set on my cold plate in the freezer.
As you can see when it comes to jam and jelly making I’m a bit more wing it than most people. I tend to trust my instincts and over do it to make sure everything turns out the way I want it. More sugar, more pectin. I kinda understand those people that want things to taste super natural and fresh but um…it’s not. You’ve added sugar and cooked it. At least get a product your happy with that lasts. I ended up with 9 half pint jars. Most recipes typically call for making much smaller batches than that, I get away with it by using that giant pan and my super hot range. Your mileage may totally vary.

Can’t wait top pop one of these open and put some of the jelly on whole wheat bread with some almond butter!

This entry was posted in Home: Nesting in the Woods....