Great Depression Dust Bowl Era Recipes – Cactus Jelly
It seems that history has been repeating itself this summer, people are cooking more at home rather than eating out due to the skyrocketing inflated price of, well, everything these days.
It's times like these that people start to explore and expand their culinary experience. With so many ultra-cheap and easy recipes provided by Okies that lived through the Dust Bowl and Great Depression, you might as well step out of your chicken tendies and macaroni comfort zone and learn a new easy-peasy nearly-free biscuit delight... Cactus jelly.
Oklahoma history is full of Pioneer Woman recipes that somehow turn random plants into food. The Czech's brought their Russian thistle soup, someone learned how to make ice cream from gelatin, and the smoked bologna was born within our state borders. It's only natural an entire generation added something sweet to the breakfast table with something that grows in even the driest conditions.
Being the most common cacti in our state, you can literally find the prickly pear cactus growing pretty much anywhere. It grows wild all over SWOK, and some people even have it in their gardens, along the roads, and even in the parks of Lawton. Whether or not you can snatch some of it is a decision you'll have to make for yourself.
Easy enough, you just peel it, boil it, mix in sugar and gelatin, and you're done. Depending on the size of your batch you could get into canning, but a little goes a long way. Also, it's delicious. My mom and aunt make all sorts of jellies... Jalapeno, cacti, and even those delicious yellow-to-orange sand plums that grow along dirt road fencelines throughout SWOK. You'll love it.
There are a million different cactus jelly recipes on the web, I'm sure you can find one for yourself... Lord knows I asked my mom and aunt but like most culinary artists, they guard their recipes as heirlooms to be passed on in death.
If you want the stellar recipe for Oklahoma smoked bologna, click here. If you want more Dust Bowl recipes, keep scrolling.