Prickly Pear Conserve

Another fine recipe idea from Carolyn Niethammer’s The Prickly Pear Cookbook. Original recipe calls for walnuts and pineapple, but I think this conserve tastes delicious and uses local ingredients available here in southern California right now. It’s served over a slice of apple on a Wild Fennel Pepita Chip. Chip recipe comes from Renee Loux Underkoffler’s fabulous book Living Cuisine: The Art and Spirit of Raw Foods. I substituted wild fennel seeds (Foeniculum vulgare), widely available on dried fennel stalks right now, and wild ginger (Asarum canadense) powder, for their cultivated counterparts.

Prickly Pear Conserve

1 orange
2 c prickly pear syrup
18 dates, pitted
4 tsp lemon juice
1/3 c pecans, broken

Grate the orange rind and sqeeze juice into medium saucepan. Add prickly pear syrup, lemon juice, and dates and cook slowly over low until a jam-like consistency. Add pecan nutmeats and cook for 5 more minutes. Put into sterile jars and seal, storing in refrigerator or plunging in hot-water bath to seal.

Wild Fennel Pepitas Chips

3 c pumpkin seeds
1 c flax seeds
1/2 c lemon juice
1/4 c Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, or soy sauce
4 dates, pitted…or 2 T honey or maple syrup
3 T wild fennel seeds, or conventional
1/2 t wild ginger powder, or 1 T chopped ginger
2 c water
salt to taste

Soak pumpkin seeds in 5 c water overnight (6-12 hours). Drain and rinse. In blender or food processor mix soaked pumpkin seeds with lemon juice, soy sauce, dates, wild fennel seeds, and wild ginger powder, with enough water to make a paste. Grind flaxseeds and add ground flax meal and salt to this paste in a bowl. Use rubber spatula to spread onto nonstick dehydrator sheets. Dehydrate for 12-20 hours at 108°. Cut into shapes and dehydrate a bit longer.

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