Juicing fruits for making jelly is a rather uncomplicated task if you have the right kitchen tools. There are many ways to juice fruits other than buying the juice directly from the store. For this “How To” I will be focusing on juicing prickly pears, but you can incorporate most of these steps into juicing other fruits as well. My personal preference on juicing involves just a few every day not very fancy kitchenware staples:
- medium sized pot for the stove
- potato masher
- fine wire mesh screen strainer/colander
- large spoon
- two large bowls such as mixing bowls
For prickly pears, first you will need to scrub or burn off the thorns. I find scrubbing them off with a vegetable scrubber the easiest method. Just poke the prickly pear with a fork and then scrub the prickly pear with your other hand under water in the sink. You don’t have to be perfectly exact in removing the tiny thorns, just make sure you get all the big thorns off. The cooking and sieving process will eliminate any remaining stickers.
Next, cut the prickly pear ends off, then slice the prickly pear long wise in half. You can quarter it, if desired. Put the quartered/halved prickly pear pieces into a clean bowl and discard the ends. Repeat until you have four cups of sliced prickly pears (this will take about 6 cups of whole prickly pears).
Dump the sliced prickly pears into a medium sized pot on the stove and pour 1 1/2 cups of fresh water into the same pot. Heat on medium high and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, mashing with the potato masher to extract juices occasionally.
Place fine wire mesh strainer over a clean bowl and carefully pour the hot prickly pear mixture over the strainer and into the bowl. The fine wire mesh strainer will catch any seeds, thorns, skins, pulp that you do not want. Mash with potato masher or the back of a large spoon to squeeze any remaining juices out. Discard seeds, pulp, and skin.
You should be able to measure 2 cups of juice into a measuring cup.
Use to make Prickly Pear Jelly, Prickly Pear Smoothies, and Prickly Pear Ice Cream. I’ve also had several people tell me Prickly Pear Margaritas are good.