Conserving the fruits that are harvested from your garden can be the ideal method to avoid them becoming rotten and discoloring in the harvest season.
The pads and the fruits are delicious and very nutritious. They can be eaten raw, fresh-cooked, pickled, dehydrated, or in jelly, sweets, juices, and wine. Conservation of prickly pear is as Jelly and Syrup, like wine, as Candy, as Pickled Pads, and as Dehydrated Pills.
Some other techniques to preserve your cactus fruits are
- Fruit preservation through sterilization
- Can cactus fruit be stored in the refrigerator?
- Preservation of Fruits by Natural Drying
- Preserving Fruit by Oven Drying
- The preservation of fruit by alcohol
Nopales or prickly pear to refer to the fruit and known as nopales for the cushions are truly one of the most fascinating plants on the planet. They can be found in hundreds of beneficial uses and do not require any care.
Throughout this article, I’ll cover ways to cook and preserve the fruit and cushions so you can enjoy them all year long.
Table of Contents
List of All Materials You Need to Store the Raw Cactus
- Nopal fruit and pills
- Machete or long knife
- Gloves (if desired)
- 1 or 1/2 pint jars
- Big pot
- potato masher
- Nylon or cheesecloth
- canning pot
- 3 gallon container
- 2 1/2 gallon container
- Wine bottles, with corks (and sealing wax, if you have it)
- refractometer gauge
Conservation of prickly pear as Jelly and Syrup
- 5 x 1/2 pint jars
- Olla grande
- potato masher
- Nylon or cheesecloth
- canning pot
This recipe can make two pints, so you can adjust it according to the amount of fruit in your fridge.
- 4 cups of prickly pear juice (4 lbs of fruit)
- 1/2 cup lemon juice or lime juice
- 2.25 cups sugar
- Low-sugar Pectin ( The low sugar pectin will set without any added sugar due to the addition of dextrose in the product) 3 teaspoons.
- Fill flasks with empty bottles in a bath of water and then heat them until they are sterilized.
- When the water has heated, clean the fruit. While the water is heating, wash the fruit,
- Utilizing tongs for holding them to cut pieces of fruit.
- Add around 1 inch of water into an enormous pot, then put the fruits.
- Then, heat for 20 mins or so until the fruit becomes soft.
- Mash using the help of a masher.
- Strain the strainer through to take all the bulk out.
- You can strain the juice by putting it through a cheesecloth (a small amount at a time since the cloth can clog easily).
- Add the lime into the juice and bring it up to the point of boiling.
- Mix pectin with 1/4 cup sugar, and add to the juice.
- Bring to a simmer stirring frequently.
- Add the remaining sugar and bring it to an unbeatable boil, while stirring continuously.
- Boil for one minute.
- Pour the mixture into sterilized, hot Jars, up to 1/4″ of the edge.
- Wipe the sides and edges with a clean and dry cloth.
- Tighten caps.
- Put jars in a pan that is filled with boiling drinking water (with 1″ or 2″ of water that is higher than the size of containers).
- Cook for fifteen minutes.
“Nutritional information: A 4-ounce (1/2-cup) serving provides 160 calories, 42 g carbohydrates, 41 g sugar, 1 g fiber, 2 mg calcium, and 2 mg potassium.”The New Mexico State university website
Conserve Prickly Pear Jelly (low sugar)
Yield: approximately 5 half-pints (8-ounce) jars
- 4 cups of prickly pear juice (fresh or frozen juice).
- 1 box (3 tablespoons) low-sugar pectin powdered with sugar.
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice in a bottle.
- 3 cups sugar.
• Measuring cups
• Measuring spoons
• 5-quart pot
• Large slotted spoon
• Large metal spoon
• Jar bubbler
• Jar funnel
• Cloth towel
• Five 8-ounce canning jars with bands and lids
• Jar lifter
Combine the juice of prickly pear and pectin in a five-quart pot. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir constantly using an enormous spoon.
- Add sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then simmer (a moderate heat to gently soften foods) for 3-4 minutes.
- If the food is cooked, remove from the heat and let it stand for around 1 minute.
- Bubbles will climb to the top.
- Make use of a large spoon made of metal to remove foam from the jelly’s surface. Utilize the spoon to fill clean and hot containers one at a time, leaving 1/4-inch headspace.
- Attach the lid and screw band to each jar.
- Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath for altitudes of 1,000-6,000 ft, or up to 15 mins at an altitude ranging from 6,000 to 10,000 feet. ( look up on the internet to find out altitude within your region).
- Make use of the jar lifter and take jars out of the water bath onto a clean dry towel. Allow to cool overnight (12-15 hours)
- Remove screws as well as dry the lids. Replace the bands with dry, clean screw bands.
- Keep it in a cool, dry location that is not overly humid for more than 12 months.
Nutritional information: A 1-tablespoon serving provides 25 calories, 7 g carbohydrates, 7 g sugar, 5 mg sodium, 1 mg potassium, and 0 g fiber.Conservation of prickly pear as wine.
Conservation of Prickly Pear as Wine
This recipe yields about 2 1/2 gallons of wine. It is possible to increase the amount according to the number of fruits you’ve got.
- 3-gallon container
- 2 1/2 gallon containers
- Wine bottles with corks ( sealing wax If you already have it)
- Olla grande
- potato masher
- Refractometer gauge
- 35lbs of fruit
- 6 cups of sugar
- 1 sachet of yeast
- Clean the fruit.
- With tongs, cut the fruits in half.
- Place around 1 inch of water into an enormous pot, then put the fruits.
- Heating for around twenty minutes, or till the fruits are soft.
- Mash using the help of a masher.
- Strain through a strainer in order to remove all the bulk out (the remainder will be removed when the wine is constantly being racked off).
- Sugar can be added to the juice until 23 Brix (using Refractometer) as well as 1.095 specific gravity (using Hydrometer). This will make a strong red wine. If you do not want it to be as powerful, you could reduce the sugar a bit.
- After the juice has cooled after cooling, add the yeast packet and pour it into the 3 gallon container. The lid should be covered with clean cloth to allow air to escape and bugs aren’t allowed inside.
- After one week, pour the liquid into smaller containers (so that there’s no gap in the air). You should avoid collecting waste in the bottom of the 3 gallon container.
- you can make an opening in the lid, place the air bag, then wrap the joint with silicon.
- After 2 months, put it back in place and then it back. Be sure to clean up the dirt behind.
- Keep it out every few months until the signs become apparent that it has turned into wine.
- Place it inside sterilized glass bottles nearly up to the top of each bottle.
- Place a cork inside each bottle. You can seal the bottle with wax if you wish.
- Set the bottles on top, Cork them down from the bottom so that the corks touch water and expand to form a seal.
- If you are able, wait for a year before you start drinking!
Conservation of Prickly Pear as Candy
- 1/2 cup of ripe nopal cactus fruit, peeled, mashed, and seeds.
- 1 1/2 cups (no addition of sugar) plain applesauce.
- Two tablespoons of powdered Pectin (I made use of gelatin to be sure).
- 2 1/2 cups of sugar.
- Sugar to dust each Gummy at the end.
- Paint an 8″ x 8″ glass baking pan with non-stick. Put it aside.
- In a large pan make the nopal cactus mash and seeds together with the applesauce.
- Mix the pectin with half a cup of sugar together in an individual bowl. Once the mixture is well-mixed add it to the cactus.
- Attach a candy thermometer to the edge of the pot and bring the mix to boiling.
- Mix into any remaining two cups of sugar.
- Bring it all to a simmer and stir continuously until the mixture reaches 225 degF (this took less than 5 minutes)
- Remove the pan from the heat. (and shake the pan’s arm to stir anything which stirs!)
- Pour the hot liquid into the 8 x 8 glass dish.
- Once it cools down a little (about 1 hour) sprinkle sugar over the top.
- Allow for several hours to set (this will differ based on your climate, the weather, and indoor/outdoor humidity. I would suggest that you let it dry for at least 12 hours. (It appears that 12-plus is the magic number , so be prepared)
- When the caramel has cooled to the entire amount, and enough to cut, slice the caramel into 1-inch squares. Or make use of an ice-cream cutter spray with cooking spray that is nonstick to create hearts or flowers.
- Dredge in sugar and allow to dry for another 6 hours or overnight on parchment paper. Warehouses can be covered for up to 2 weeks.
Conservation of Prickly Pear as Pickled Pads
This recipe is for 6-pint jars. You need about 1/3 lb. per jar.
- medium size pot
- canning pot
- the jars
- 2 lb nopal pads
- vinegar 3 cc.
- 3cc water
- 6 tablespoons of salt
- Dill or Parsley, or thyme, or rosemary ( use which one you have available)
- Garlic cloves (1 for each jar)
- Jalapeño peppers (1 for each jar)
- In a hot water bath, put jars to clean.
- Keep the cushion at its base, then scrape it with the blade of a knife to get rid of spines, and even glochids. Or Keep the fire burning to melt away the sharp bits.
- Utilizing a knife, cut off the edges of the pad as well as any other areas that contain spines.
- Cut and put into sterilized containers.
- Put a clove along with 1 jalapeno pepper and a few sprigs of dill into the glass jar.
- Boil the vinegar, water as well as salt, until salt disintegrates.
- Fill the jars with boiling brine, to the nearest half” above the surface.
- Close the caps using your fingers.
- Cook at a boil for about 20 minutes
- Let the cure sit for at least 6 months in order to enhance the flavor.
Conservation of prickly pear as Dehydrated Pills
Dehydrated foods usually hold more of their original nutritional content than canned food items. Be aware that the nopales have to be marinated prior to cooking in order to ensure that they are not overly bland and dry.
- Prickly pear tablets
- Marinade flavor, such as soy or balsamic vinegar/Rice wine vinegar/Red wine vinegar.
- Take off the spines and the outside edge.
- The pills can be cut into strips of 3/4 inch.
- Boil them for about a minute.
- Add to marinade for 20 minutes or less.
- Dry until it becomes brittle.
Fruit Preservation Through Sterilization
Sterilization is an arduous yet extremely beneficial method that is based on the destruction of all microorganisms that are found in food.
- Due to the prolonged boiling at 100 degrees.
- Your fruit is stored for a long period of time in jars that are filled with simple syrup, or even cooked in Compote (Compote is a basic fruit sauce made of chunks of freshly picked (or frozen) fruit, along with some sugar that is cooked for a few minutes on a stove).
- Make sure you select jars that have capacities that do not exceed one liter in order for sterilization to be consistent.
- Sterilized fruit is great to add flavor to all of your desserts or ice creams. You can also use them to garnish fruit salads.
The Preservation of Fruit by Alcohol
Utilize sugar and wine or stronger alcohol such as Vodka to put your fruit in it. Alcohol is a near-perfect antiseptic, able to kill any microorganisms.
Make sure to avoid adding sugar as alcohol is also a fantastic solvent! In the end, it is possible that your fruits’ flavor might decrease slightly. The sugar helps to prevent loss of flavor, and also the sweetness inherent in the fruit.
Preserving Fruit by Oven Drying
Oven drying is great for nopales, figs, apricots, plums, or peaches. Cut your fruit into quarters, or rings, and dry them on a rack at moderate heat. They should be kept away from moisture in a sealed box.
Preservation of Fruits by Natural Drying
Follow this easy stem to create your prickly pear dry naturally.
- Be sure that the location is cool, dry, and airy with temperatures between 2 and 7 degrees Celsius.
- But don’t let it get too dry, because otherwise, the fruit will begin to wrinkle.
- Make sure you regularly check the health of your fruit in order to prevent any damage that could occur.
Can cactus fruit be stored in the refrigerator?
It is the simplest method, the fastest, and perhaps most efficient method. The fruit can be stored for a calendar year inside the freezer! Be aware, and don’t forget to put the bags in the freezer (taking care to eliminate the air before closing them ).
It is best to freeze smaller portions rather than by adding the juice of a lemon and sugar in order to stop any browning (turn brown) that the fruits may experience. Fruits frozen are mostly used to cook dishes (pies, coulis, pies, etc.) since, once they have thawed, they soften.
Precautions for Freezing:
It’s perfectly suitable for all fruits, but it is important to take a few precautions
- Make sure to use only clean, washed fruit.
- The stone fruits should be pitted and cut the stone fruits in half, if needed.
- Certain fruits are peeled, seeded, and then cooked prior to freezing particularly for the pear.
- Include lemon juice in order to prevent the browning of apples and peaches for a bulk amount of pear freezing.
- If you’d like frozen fruits to be separated from one another, first freeze them laid out on the tray before placing them into freezer boxes or bags.
How to store cactus fruit
It is brimming with water, and it is susceptible to perish, so pay attention to humidity and temperature in the short and long term and remain stored once dehydrated over a long time.
How to ripen cactus fruit quickly when stored
The firm prickly pears will begin to ripen and soften at room temperature within several days.
How to keep cactus fruit fresh
Place it in an airtight bag, try to squeeze as much air out of it as you can, and then place it into the freezer section in the refrigerator.
Can the cactus fruit be frozen?
Yes it is, however the fiber might be degenerated a bit