Cactus Rubies

This is a red jellied candy from an ancient Arizona food, the prickly pear cactus. Tourists buy a lot of this candy when they visit Arizona.


  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups red cactus juice
  • 2 (1 3/4 ounce) package powdered fruit pectin
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda


  1. To obtain the cactus juice, gather very ripe red-purple tuna (fruit) from prickly pear cactus with tongs. Wash by overflowing water in container. Put fruit in a large pan and barely cover with water. Stickers will cook and strain out. Boil fruit until soft, occasionally mashing down and cutting through the fruit to release the juice. Strain through a cloth in a colander. This juice may be canned in fruit jars and used for candies and jellies, or used immediately.
  2. Candy Procedure: Use two large pans because candy foams.
  3. In one pan, mix sugar and syrup and bring to a full rolling boil.
  4. Simultaneously, cook foaming juice, pectin and baking soda mixture in another pan until foaming dies down, stirring both mixtures.
  5. Pour pectin mixture slowly into sugar mixture and boil together about 2 more minutes, stirring constantly.
  6. Remove from fire, stir a bit more to allow bubbles to escape and candy to clear.
  7. Pour into buttered 10 x 6-inch glass dish. Let stand at room temperature until set (several hours).
  8. Turn out on sugared wax paper. Cut into squares and coat with more granulated sugar.
  9. Allow to dry at room temperature before storing.

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