Agarita is a variety of barberry. It grows westward from the Hill Country as far as the Trans-Pecos and back along the Rio Grande to Webb & Jim Hogg counties. Exclusive in this region, Agarita apparently grows nowhere else in the world. Its yellow blossoms appear from January to March, and resembles Narcissus in fragrance. Early settlers used Agarita wood for yellow dye.


Place cleaned berries in a kettle with sufficient water to cover and cook until berries begin to pop. They need not all pop. Let juice drip through a jelly bag (or cloth) squeezing only slightly. To make jelly: Combine 6 1/2 cups juice with one package of SureJell, in a kettle large enough to allow strong boiling. Bring to a hard boil and add 7 cups of sugar. Let come to a hard boil again and for only one min. Remove from fire and fill jelly glasses. Freeze or can juice for making jelly later. It has a different flavor all its own.

Mrs. Preston Laws (Margaret), Creedmoor H.D.C.


Clean berries in deep pan or pail. The leaves and dirt will sink to the bottom, leaving berries on top. About 3 changes of water completes the cleaning.

Use an aluminum or granite vessel to cook. Fill vessel two-thirds, just covering with cold water. Boil until pressure of spoon on berries against vessel shows them to be tender. Pour contents into jelly bag; hang up to drain until it stops dripping. Do not squeeze bag except very lightly.

To one quart of juice add two-thirds quarts of cane sugar (do not use beet sugar). Boil until it jells.

(without added pectin)

Two cups Agarita juice (about 3 1/2 pounds agaritas)
Two cups of sugar

To prepare juice. Use equal parts of washed fruit and water and place in non-metal container. Let stand overnight. Boil for 5 minutes. Mash, strain and squeeze to remove juice. About 1/3 of the berries should be half-ripe for good jelly.

To make jelly. Place juice over heat and let it come to a boil. Add sugar and boil about 5 minutes, until it gives the sheet test. Remove from heat, skim off, pour into hot jars and seal.