Texas Pyracantha Jelly

Pyracantha Jelly from Pyracantha coccinea (firethorn, scarlet firethorn Rosaceae -rose Family-)

Once you have seen a pyracantha bush you will not mistake it for anything else. The colorful orange-red berries stab at the sky and leave you breathless. They advertise their presence. For someone who is always looking for fruit, that is good news. This year here in Texas the drought has meant that many fruits wither were smaller or they failed to stay on the plant. Amazingly, this is even true of the pyracantha. The bushes I had intended to harvest the red berries from failed to produce any fruit at all. So it is great that the plant stands out to let me know where it is. You can be whizzing down the highway and see this plant. It produces so many berries that it has spread itself  to many places beyond where it was planted. My biologist friends remove it from all the parks they oversee. However, it is an easy fruit to identify and pick. I read that others have problem harvesting it because of the thorns on the plant. I use my leather gloves so the thorns don’t bother me at all. I pull the fruit into my bucket a handful at a time. The berries can vary from pale orange to bright red. Additionally, the later in the season you pick the fruit the darker they tend to be. The first year I harvested the fruit the jelly was a light yellow color. This year it is a dark orange color.

After bringing the fruit home I needed to remove all the leaves and stems mixed in with the fruit. After washing the fruit I added 8 cups of water to 8 cups of fruit. The fruit was boiled until the berries could be crushed with a potato masher. Then the berries were additionally crushed with a food mill. The juice from this was then poured through cheese cloth.  If you don’t get enough juice you can add some more water to the pulp and boil the fruit again.

Bring the juice to a boil and then add the sugar and lemon juice. Then add the no sugar needed pectin.  Bring to a hard boil for 1 minute. Let cool and then place into freezer containers. Place in the freezer when the contents are cool.  To me it has a taste that reminds me of rose hips or apples.

Texas Pyracantha Jelly Recipe         

8 cups of fruit producing 4 cups of juice

3 cups of sugar

1/2 cup lemon juice

1 pkg  no sugar needed pectin

Let me know what you think of this jelly if you make it.

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13 Responses to Texas Pyracantha Jelly

  1. How clever – I had no idea you could eat these berries!

  2. Harriett says:

    I made this jelly this weekend. Boy was is good. Very tangy. I used splenda instead of suger and still tasted great (Hubby didn’t like it though). And….to please our blogger…. it was very “pretty”. Since the berries were almost red when I harvested them the jelly turned out a wine color-harriettleal.

    • I knew you would be able to make a delicious and pretty jelly with Pyracantha. Now that you know what they look like I bet you can find even more. Remember that you can make the juice and then freeze it for another day (or month.) I saw some Pyracantha berries today that were the largest I have ever seen. Unfortunately they were at the Zoo. I also noticed that the pyracantha were starting to bloom.

  3. Kerry says:

    Is there a way to make this jelly with the pomes in the jelly?

    • Kerry-
      The fruit is seedy but if prepared carefully (removing both ends and seeds) I think one could put the fruit in the jelly. Since it is probably simply for show you would not have to include too many in each jar. Let me know how it turns out. Thanks for visiting the site. Texas Jelly Maker

  4. Aaron Uhl says:

    Hi! I read the recipe, but don’t see what amount of sugar should be added. How much sugar should be added to the liquid? Also, can regular pectin be used, and if so, how much sugar should be added to that recipe? I cannot wait to try this recipe!!!!!!

  5. Fred Willard says:

    I’ve make pyracantha jelly several times before, but the last two times it has not jelled. I did it just like you suggested this last time and it is somewhat jelled, but not as much as I would like. What am I doing wrong and can this batch be corrected? I want to make cactus jelly with my frozen juice and I had a similar experience with the last batch of that fruit. I certainly don’t want the same thing to happen again. My friend never uses pectin but just cooks jellies until a drop jells on a cold plate. That is her criteria and it seems to work for her. Please comment and give me an answer to my problems. Thanks.

    • Fred- Sorry you are having problems with your jelly not firming up for you. As you know, pectin is what makes a jelly turn firm. There are many fruits that have natural pectin, such as apples, blackberries,
      citrus rinds, crab apples, cranberries, currants, gooseberries, plums, and grapes, while there are others that have none. It is true that if you have a fruit with natural pectins you can boil it until when you test the jelly it finally jells on a cold plate. However, this technique doesn’t work if the fruit has no pectin. Some recipes combine high pectin fruits with low pectin fruits in order to utilize the natural pectins. I use pectin in all my jellies, even when I know that there is natural pectin. I do this because I like to be certain that it will gel. Also, many of my jellies are made with fruit (or vegetables) where there are no recipes so I am in unknown territory. As far as what you can do in the future I will make several suggestions. One, add an extra tablespoon of pectin, and furthermore boil the recipe 30 seconds to a minute longer while at full boil. I find that jellies can vary from one time to the next depending on how much water we use to get the juice. If a fruit is covered with water that amount may not always be the same. Some fruit can be juicier one time than the next. Also, riper fruit has less natural pectin. Many recipes suggest using 1/4 of the fruit that are not fully ripe for this reason. As far as fixing a jelly that has not gelled properly here are some suggestions. Make sure that you haven’t made a double batch. To gel properly one needs the correct amount of sugar, acid (such as lemon), and pectin.For each quart of jam or jelly to be fixed, mix ¼ cup sugar, ¼ cup water or white grape juice, 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice, and 4 teaspoons powdered pectin in a large pot. Bring to a hard boil for 1 minute. Then perform the earlier mentioned test with a cold spoon. If the test doesn’t work then add about 1/4 to 1/2 of another package of pectin. Bring to a boil for a minute again.
      I hope all this helps. If it is any consolation, I get occasional batches of jelly that don’t gel even though I have made countless batches of jelly.

  6. Fred- It sounds harder than it is. You will have no problem with it,

  7. Rebecca says:

    Wow, I had no clue that you could make jelly out of pyracantha berries. Can you eat the fruit as well or does it taste bad? I love making jellies that people don’t normally make. Last year I made corncob jelly. It was really good! I was actually looking for a satsuma jelly recipe when I found your blog. Thanks!

    • Rebecca- Glad you visited the blog. The pyracantha berries don’t taste bad but they just don’t taste good. Pretty small too. If you love making jellies that people don’t normally make then you came to the right place. :) Believe it or not, I have not made corncob jelly. Since I am a city boy I don’t have a source of corncobs. I will have to ask around. Next week I am picking Satsumas. Most of the Satsumas will be made into frozen orange juice but I may make some Satsuma Jelly. the problem is that my freezer is full. I need an additional freezer. Oh well. I will just have to use up what I have in the freezer before next week.

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