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Agarita Jam
 

Agarita, Mahonia trifoliolata,  also know as Berberis trifoliolata, produces lovely, fragrant yellow flowers in early Spring. About mid-May when the berries are VERY ripe, it’s time to harvest.   Agarita is a very spiky plant and the berries need to be harvested with care.  The best way to do this is very carefully by hand, or use an upside down umbrella.
Lay it at the base of the plant and gently hitting the bush with a stick. The ripened berries will fall into the umbrella. The berries are tiny, but make a rich red, flavorful jam.

Next, wash the berries thoroughly, removing any debris.  This may take 3 or more washings. Agarita berries contain natural pectin so there is no need to use pectin or any thickening agent for this jam. The yellow seeds within the berries also contain s berberine, so this jam is naturally healthful.

Ingredients for the Jam

  • 1 cup cleaned, fresh Agarita berries

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 – 1 1/3 cups sugar

Making the Jam

1.     Place thoroughly washed berries and water in a stainless steel saucepan.

2.   Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium and cook for approximately 15 minutes until berries are soft.

3.   Strain out the berries and mash them in a wooden bowl. 

4.   Add berries back to the liquid. 

5.   Add sugar to taste.  I used 1 1/3 cups of sugar.

6.   Simmer over medium heat for approximately 60 minutes (more time will be needed when making a larger amount). 

7.   When the liquid is syrupy, perform a 4 minute refrigerator test.  Take a tablespoon of liquid/berries and place in the refrigerator.  If the liquid solidifies to an almost jam like consistency, your jam is ready to jar. 

8.   Allow to cool for a few minutes, and then place in a glass jar. 

9.   When the jar feels cool, place in the refrigerator.  The jam will thicken overnight. 

10.  The next morning, enjoy some of your Agarita Jam on toast.  YUM!!!