Category Archives: Dressings

Prickly Pear Syrup

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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.

Tongs
Bucket
Large metal pot
Juicer
Cheese cloth, tshirt or flour sack
Strainer

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.

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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.

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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.

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Bring to boil and boil for 10 minutes.

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Your sugar will begin to dissolve

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It’s normal to see a film develop on the top.

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It will also build volume wise, don’t be alarmed. Remove from stove and allow to cool for a couple of minutes.

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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.

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Place your sealed jars into a water bath for 10 to 15 minutes and your done.

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Now you can store your prickly pear syrup and pull out for lemonade, margarita’s, drizzle it over ice cream or pancakes and enjoy!

Rosemary Infused Honey

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My herbs are on fire this year.  I have more basil, rosemary, dill and lemongrass than I can process.  Here’s a very simple way to infuse some honey with your rosemary.

What you will need:

1 1/2 cups honey
1 cup rosemary leaves, loosely packed and chopped
Zest of one lemon
double boiler
candy thermometer
jars and lids

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Zest your lemon and loosely chop your rosemary.  Don’t chop it too fine or it will be difficult to strain.

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Place honey, zest of lemon and rosemary in the top of your double boiler once it begins to boil.  Boil and maintain temperature of 180 for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and strain into your jars.

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You shouldn’t have any spoilage issues as long as your jars and rims are dry prior to placing your lids on your jars. Water can change the balance in your infused honey so make sure your jars and lids aren’t wet.

This honey is wonderful on warm rolls, grilled meats, drizzled over fruits or salads.  There really is no limit to what you can do with infused honey.

Basil infused Honey

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I fear next week you may see a post regarding me building a sustainable house made of Basil.  My Basil plant has been outgrowing the needs of my neighbors, local school, friends and strangers passing.  This morning I decided to infuse some honey and it’s delicious.

What you will need:

2 cups honey
1 cup basil leaves, loosely packed and chopped
double boiler
candy thermometer
jars and lids

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Chop Basil

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Place honey and basil  in a double boiler with water in bottom.

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Bring water to a boil, and bring honey to 185°F and keep at 185°F for 10 minutes.

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Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes. Strain while still warm.

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Place in sterilized jars and cap after it cools.

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You shouldn’t have any spoilage issues as long as your jars and rims are dry prior to placing your lids on your jars.  Water can change the balance in your infused honey so make sure your jars and lids aren’t wet.

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Bonnie’s Summer Basil Vinaigrette

DSC_0003This is a wonderful sweet and tangy Vinaigrette that can you be used on Caprice Salad or any summer salads that you wish to add some zing to.

INGREDIENTS
2 cups (about ¼ pound) tightly packed fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon raw sugar
2 tablespoons honey or agave
2 cloves minced garlic
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup canola oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
INSTRUCTIONS
Combine first five ingredients in a food processor or blender. Puree mixture until smooth and bright green.

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With motor running, slowly add the salad oil to form an emulsion*.
Add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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If not serving immediately, store in an airtight jar or container in the refrigerator. Will last for a week or more.