Agarita Jelly, how to harvest and how to make it

Agarita Jelly

Back in May of 2010, I noticed around the farm that we had an ABUNDANCE of beautiful agarita berries.  If you have never heard of agaritas before, they are a Texas native plant that produce a very sweet-tart like red berry about the 1/4″ in diameter. Someone said, “Hey you should make some agarita jelly!”.  Sure, why not.

The first thing we had to do was figure out how to get the darn things off the bush and into the kitchen without turning our hands into pin cushions.  Agarita bushes have very nasty prickly leaves.  Eventually I decided a sheet, some welding gloves, and a croquet mallet needed to get involved.

With a lot of hitting the bushes we started to see some results…

Sometimes I had to give them a shake as well to get the berries off…

What we got was a whopping 14lbs of agarita berries, ready to be sorted, juiced, and made into jelly.

Sorting took the most time…. and OUCH those dry agarita leaves are the worst!

I then boiled the berries in a little bit of water just enough to make them pop open and become tender.

Put the boiled berries in a cheesecloth, then squeeze, mash, stomp, whatever it takes to get as much juice as possible out of them.

The juice looked like fruit punch, was very tasty, and was immediately made into jelly.  We used 1 part juice, 1/2 part sugar, low sugar fruit pectin, then jarred up and canned 24 8oz. jars!  Beauty!

Agarita Jelly

Agarita Jelly
Recipe type: jelly
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
How to make agarita jelly after you have harvested the juice from the berries.
  • 1 part agarita juice
  • ½ part sugar
  • low sugar fruit pectin (follow directions on box)
  1. Mix all ingredients
  2. Boil for 3 minutes
  3. Can in canning jars


6 thoughts on “Agarita Jelly, how to harvest and how to make it

  1. Next time use two layers of leather gloves and ‘comb’ the berries off the branches.
    Clean the leaves out with a very low pressure air nozzle in a tray.

    Turn the berries into pulp using a blender (preserves freshness)
    add a little Agave nectar, an equal part of Tequila, shake with ice and “Voila”
    Agarita Margarita!



  2. However……the way you did it is the old Texan way. I remember as a kid watching them smack the agrito bush with a huge branch to knock the berries off onto a white bed sheet just like you did. Thanks for the memories

  3. Great report and comments on Agarita berries. I just purchased 45 acres of land near Burnet TX and it has about 200 Agarita bushes. Inspite of the draught I still had large amounts of berries and I harvested a couple of five gal. buckets full and made some beautiful jelly, but it was a little too sweet. Next year I will use a different recipe that requires less sugar.

    I gathered them via the tarp and beating technique and it worked well. I separated the berries from the chaff by stretching a tarp on the patio and placing a fan behind my buckets and poured the berries back and forth between two five gal. buckets. The chaff blew out on the tarp and the berries fell into the bucket below. It worked beautifully.

    I have pictures but don’t know how to post them on your site.

    Anybody that wants to pick berries next year should contact me.


    Glenn Peavy

  4. My grandfather always used the wind to get out the loose leaves. Wait for a breeze and slowly pour the berries from one bucket to another. The berries are heavy enough to fall straight into the bucket while the wind picks up the leaves and sends them out of the mix.

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