agarita jelly

you know that saying ‘well, it’s five o’clock somewhere”? i am going to try to weave it into this post to convince you that i have made the deadline for this month’s can jam. but i really have. really. you see, i am sitting on an island in the middle of the pacific ocean, namely the big island of hawai’i and i am so many hours behind you it isn’t even funny. right now, where i sit,  it’s nine pm. and on the east coast, it’s three in the morning. the next day. wherever else you are in the states, i am sure you are sleeping. but wait, it’s friday night–some of you may be out for a drink. so, to put it all in a nutshell (or a seashell): i am in the states, it ain’t midnight yet, and it is the day before the deadline (no matter what anyone says) for posting this month’s entry of canned goods. and the ingredient for this month is berries.

,

i had never heard of agarita berries until a few years back when i was reading an article on regional foods of texas. they are plentiful and native to the southwest: from the texas hill country (west of austin) all to way to parts of arizona. back in the day, folks used to make jelly out of anything they could squeeze a drop of juice outta. the berries preserve well in jellies, chutneys, you name it and were often served with meats. these here were gifted to me by my neighbor whose mother has a property full of them out in blanco, texas. lucky me. when i went to do a search on how to make jelly from them i found nothing. well, that’s not entirely true. the freesteader libratarian and texas bowhunter forums had both mentioned agarita jelly, but no recipe was found. so i made one up following the ratios from pomona’s pectin. you have to introduce some sort of pectin to this jelly; the berries themselves have virtually none. the flavor is difficult to describe. it is fairly tart, like rhubarb, but earthy and grassy all at the same time. i made a simple and straightforward batch of jelly for my neighbor and his mother: they both said it was exactly right. i’ll take their word for it.

agarita jelly (makes about 4-5 half pints)

note: this is a lower sugar version-sweeten to taste. the fact that you can control the sugar is the good word about using pomona pectin.

3 lbs agarita berries, picked through, sorted, and rinsed

enough water to cover the berries  (about 3 cups)

1/4 c lemon juice

4 tsp calcium water (if you don’t know what this is, look at the pomona pectin website)

4 tsp pomona pectin powder

1 c honey

1 c granulated sugar

put berries and water in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. lower heat and simmer, covered for about 10-15 minutes. stir and mash berries (i used a potato masher) and cook 5 minutes more. pour into a jelly bag or over some dampened cheesecloth in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl to catch the juice. allow to drain for at least 2 hours. you should have about 4 cups of juice. add a little water if you are short. it will be ok.

pour measured juice into a saucepan and add lemon juice and calcium water and slowly bring to a boil. meanwhile, in a small bowl, thoroughly mix pectin powder with your granulated sugar. add sugar/pectin mixture to boiling juice, stirring vigorously for 1-2 minutes. add your honey to taste. pour mixture into prepared jars and process for 10 minutes in a water bath.

Advertisements

6 Comments

Filed under condiment, Uncategorized

6 responses to “agarita jelly

  1. Frank M

    Look at Stef-blogging from Hawaii!
    I can vouch for this jelly-it’s excellent! I will expect some guava jam or something Hawaiian as I know you’re collecting recipes over there!

  2. That’s it, I’m grabbing my laptop and finding a beach. Hope you’re having great fun!

    I first heard of agarita berries when we toured a property in Wimberley, and the owner gave us history lessons on every shrub, tree, and rock. Are they tart? I’ve never tasted the berries. Love the color of the jelly!

  3. As someone who likes to push deadlines as far as possible, I think your reasoning is 100% sound. You so totally made your deadline. =)

    But, now you have me so curious about these berries that I’m going to have see if my parents can find and freeze some for my next trip home to Kerrville.

  4. I’ve never heard of this fruit, it must be local to you, sounds good though.

  5. Diane Karpa

    This was a staple in my diet when I was a child in Jim Wells County. I was 60 years old before I found out that agarita is a first cousin of barberry, which is made into jelly all over New England. I imagine any recipe for barberry jelly would work.

    • thecosmiccowgirl

      that’s exactly right, diane! if you live in new england now you can bring back childhood memories by making barberry jelly. what did y’all eat in on/with?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s