Prickly pears are native to Mexico and Central America. They're also known by other names, including cactus fruit, chilacayote, chiltepin, chile de árbol, and chile de agua. Here's how to make a prickly pear jam.
Wash the Pears.
To prepare the prickly pear jelly, wash the prickly pears thoroughly under running water. Remove the stems and cut off the top and bottom of each one. Cut the prickly pears into quarters lengthwise. Peel away the skin with a paring knife.
Remove the Seeds.
Once you've removed the seeds, place the prickly pear pieces in a large pot filled with boiling water. Cook them until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the prickly pears well and let cool completely.
Cut into small pieces.
Peel the prickly pears by cutting off the skin just below the stem end. Remove the stems and cut the fruit into small cubes. Place the cubes in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the sugar and lemon juice and pulse to combine. Pour the mixture into a bowl and refrigerate until cold. Serve chilled.
Boil the Pears until soft.
To boil the pears, bring water to a rolling boil in a large pot. Drop the pears into the boiling water and cook them for 5 minutes. Drain the pears and let cool slightly before peeling them. Cut the pears into quarters and remove the seeds.
Add sugar and boil again.
In a medium saucepan, combine the pears with the lemon juice and 1 cup of sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the mixture thickens, about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Pour the jelly into jars and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.