Back in the old days, when the Germans first started to settle the Texas Hill country, they tried to make jelly out of anything they could squeeze a little juice out of. And why wouldn’t they? I mean…these little berries come from some of the sweetest smelling flowers, although one of the most prickly of bushes, I have ever witnessed. They are 90% seed and to extract enough juice to make jelly, a squillion little kids would have to beat an acre of bushes and sit and push ten billion berries through a strainer to get a small jar of jam.
Place a white, slightly fluffy and thin blanket under the bush, whack away to your heart’s content to get the berries to drop down onto the blanket. As you pull the blanket out, don’t loose the berries but you will notice those sticky leaves will stay in the blanket while the berries fall out into the bags you have waiting to the side. Proceed as you would for any other berry jam.
Agarita. I don’t know all the technical stuff about it but it is an indicator plant for me, a sign that I have come home to the hill country. It’s evergreen and when it isn’t flowering in the Spring, it is putting on small berries that turn a deep magenta and pop in your mouth with a sweet tart, juice that can be turned into a jelly with a LOT of work. Grateful for agarita, I am.