Posted at 1:50 pm , on October 8, 2019
Joe and I first tasted prickly pear jelly and syrup at the Downtown Growers Market here in Albuquerque. They were passing out samples and I loved it at first taste. You will find prickly pear cactus plants in most neighborhoods here in Albuquerque, I thought surely I would be able to find the ripened fruit in a local fruit market but so far I haven’t found any. My niece offered me the fruit aka “tuna” off her cactus and I happily took her up on her offer. So Joe and I went over with gloves and tongs and picked two bags full. It was about 6 pounds of raw fruit and made just over 6 cups of juice. I wasn’t exactly sure how to prep them but knew that the prickly splinters aka “glochids” needed to be removed. We have a small weed burner that we used to burn off the glochids. As Joe was burning them off we noticed that the fruit reacted like a roasted chile with the fruit blistering and the outer skin separating from the fruit. At that point I decided to steam them like a chile to see if that would make peeling them easier. I placed them in 3 bowls with tight lids and refrigerated them overnight. The next morning I set up my kitchen to work up the fruit. I sliced them in half and scooped out the fruit like you would an avocado. It was so easy and in no time I had a big bowl of prickly pear fruit ready to process. I pureed the fruit in a blender and strained the pulp to remove the seeds. Then I ladled the juice into 1/2 pint jars. With this juice you can make any number of things from jelly and syrup to candy or sorbet. I’ve even found pies and cheesecakes that have been flavored with this sweet nectar. I went into this as an experiment and found it a tasty adventure. This year I made jelly and syrup but next time I may try something more adventurous.
Posted at 10:10 am , on January 23, 2018
This may seem a bit odd, cooking up lotions and potions instead of food but I wanted to share what I “cooked up” for homemade gifts over the holidays. As I grow older maintaining a state of well being and striving to live healthier takes work. What I want most these days are things that will make my life easier and more comfortable. My siblings also experience the aches and pains of growing older. Taking a pill or buying expensive organic remedies won’t cure all but there are things to try and experiment with to see what works and what doesn’t. My sister Kat has inspired me with her knowledge and willingness to try new things. She has influenced my way of thinking about organic and natural ways to feel better. For instance she gave me a pink himalayan salt lamp that proponents claim to have a calming aura which can affect your mood and wellness, as well as boosting blood flow, improving sleep and increasing levels of serotonin in the brain. And last year she gave me a diffuser with essential oils that I keep nearby when I’m working on the computer. I have been exploring the benefits of essential oils and found many bloggers experimenting with different oils and organic materials to make lotions and body butters that can help with anything from dry skin to painful joints to sore muscles. These are my picks that I feel are the best of the best. These bloggers have shared an abundance of information on how they are made, the benefits of essential oils, what products to use and even how to clean up after making them. I will provide the links to the original posts so that you might find some ideas on how a homemade remedy might be beneficial to you. Also I’ve added links to the products I ordered and used specifically for these lotions and potions.
Posted at 9:02 am , on October 22, 2013
Time has flown so quickly, I can’t believe it’s almost the end of October. For me, it signals the time to turn on the oven and start baking. My family loves pumpkin desserts and in the past I’ve always used canned pumpkin which is perfectly fine. But this year I decided to try making my own pumpkin puree just for the fun of it. Looking online to see what varieties would be suitable, it appeared most bakers preferred small pumpkins which are supposed to be a bit sweeter for pies and desserts. I found it to be a fairly easy process, just scoop, bake, peel and puree. I can’t wait to test it out with some sugar and spice to see how it tastes. So what do you think, are these pumpkins cute or what?
Posted at 9:00 am , on November 2, 2012
I decided it’s time to post a few tips that I use in my daily cooking. I hope to reference these tips in my future recipes and add other tips as I go along. As many of you know I roast a variety of chiles often and have started roasting other foods as well such as tomatoes and corn. Roasting brings out the sugars in corn and tomatoes that you wouldn’t otherwise find. Find out for yourself how easy it is and how good it tastes!