I live in Southern Arizona and we have an abundance of Prickly Pear Cactus. Here is the easiest way I have found to make Prickly Pear Syrup.
You will need the following items
Covered shoes…… Once you drop a piece of fruit onto your barefoot you will understand the importance of keeping the “NO See Ums” of you. That’s what we call the tiny stickers that are not visible. Trust me they exist.
Large metal pot
Cheese cloth, tshirt or flour sack
As long as you aren’t on State or Private land you are welcome to pick Prickly Pear cactus for home use. We were able to pick two 5 gallon buckets of fruit in 10 minutes.
Once you have picked the fruit you will place them in a large metal pot with water and boil for 15 minutes. Your water will turn bright pink. Once you have boiled your fruit simply drain in sink. Make sure you don’t pick any fruit up with your hands. Although some NO See Um’s have come off during cooking there are still plenty. TRUST ME!
Now you will take a few at a time and run through your juicer. Just drop them in and the juicer will do the work for you. Now you will take your juice and run it through a a cheese cloth or flour bag. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP! I can tell you many horror stories where people thought the stickers were out only to wake up the following day with sores in their mouths.
This should be your finished result once you squeeze all of your juice through a cheesecloth or flour sack. The color is gorgeous!
Now you will take equal parts of sugar and prickly pear juice and place in a pot. I ended up with 3 3/4 cup of juice so I added the same amount of raw sugar.
Bring to boil and boil for 10 minutes.
Your sugar will begin to dissolve
It’s normal to see a film develop on the top.
It will also build volume wise, don’t be alarmed. Remove from stove and allow to cool for a couple of minutes.
Now you can start pouring your syrup into your sterilized canning jars and add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice per jar to ensure your acid level is ok for canning.
Place your sealed jars into a water bath for 10 to 15 minutes and your done.
Now you can store your prickly pear syrup and pull out for lemonade, margarita’s, drizzle it over ice cream or pancakes and enjoy!