Betty's Prickly Pear Syrup (and Sometimes Jelly)

I have childhood memories of driving down off of the Mogollon Rim coming home from Payson and stopping along the way in late August to pick prickly pears. We would stop, Mom would dig out the gloves (gotta use them) and tongs (never touch the fruit with your hands) and we would proceed to pick buckets of prickly pears and make them into juice, jelly and syrup. These days after a good rain in August and September—so the prickly pears are nice and juicy— I head out to a couple of places I know of in Paradise Valley and pick buckets of them.
By | September 15, 2008


Follow simple directions on the Sure Jell box for the jelly.

* for the prickly pear juice: Once home the process is simple. I start with a large-mouth gallon jar, hold the pears with tongs, rinse them at my outdoor sink (so the water goes into my landscape) and place them in the jar. I mash the fruit down, then repeat the process until the jar is 3/4 full, then stick it in the freezer. Freezing accomplishes two things: It releases the juice from the fruit and it breaks down the tiny stickers (glochids) from the skins. When you are ready to use this distinctive magenta-hued juice, thaw it out, strain it very well and voilà, you can use the strained juice to make lemonade, margaritas or preserves.


  • 3 cups prickly pear juice*
  • 1 to 2 cups sugar to taste
  • 1 package Sure Jell pectin
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