Prickly Pear Fruit Makes Candy, Jelly


Are cactus candy and cactus jelly really made out of cactus?

There was a time when we would have brought several samples of cactus candy and jelly back for testing in the Valley 101 Research Laboratory. But with the recent shrinking of the paper, we had to pack up lab equipment and put it in storage. It was either that or the bowling trophies.

So, in the absence of a detailed scientific analysis, we put all our trust in Amelio Cassiato, manager of the Cactus Candy Co. in central Phoenix, which, by the way, has a really cool cactus sign out in front.

Yes, it’s Hot. Famous People Who Said it Best.

The Arizona desert is known for its summer scorchers. “It’s hot” is probably among the most uttered phrases this time of year, and when the mercury hovers over 110 degrees, “it’s f***ing hot” seems a bit more appropriate. That’s when neighbors start to fry eggs on the pavement and bake cookies on their car dashboards. Scalding seat belts, sweat stains and roadway mirages become the norm.

The heat can be downright daunting, but a little humor can make the temporary discomfort a bit more bearable. So crank up the AC and check out these witty words of wisdom from well-known folks who’ve also felt the sun’s fury.

The Gila River’s Sustaining and Stubborn History

Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area. Courtesy of Bureau of Land Management

The damming of Arizona’s great rivers has made them a mere shadow of their old turbulent days. But still those irreverent rivers are plenty capable of kicking off their hobbles and running wild as a spring colt.

Personally, my favorite is the Gila. Its Spanish name translates roughly as “a steady going to or coming from someplace.” And that’s what the old river did for several thousand years, though today it is one of our driest rivers.

Mojaves vs. Mohaves: Which is Correct?

Why is Mojave spelled with an “h” in Arizona and with a “j” in California?

Let us start at the beginning: Mohave is an attempt to spell or pronounce the true name of the Native American tribe called the Mojave. It’s Pipa Aha Macave, “people who live along the water.” Today, the Fort Mojave Indian Reservation, based in Needles, covers about 32,000 acres in California, Arizona and Nevada.

Arizona in the Civil War? Deadly Skirmish at Picacho

Today, Picacho Peak serves as a familiar landmark along a stretch of Interstate 10 that connects Tucson and Phoenix. An unmistakable cluster of volcanic remnants juts hundreds of feet from the desert floor, greeting a constant flow of drivers who whiz past the site, completely unaware of its historical significance.

Some 150 years ago, this was actually the scene of “the westernmost battle of the Civil War.”