‘Ōhelo Berry Jam II

Oldies But Goodies Volume 1, Winona Like Hopkins '53


Photos: Melehina Groves
Pū‘ili hua ‘ōhelo mea ‘ai na ka wahine.
‘Ōhelo berries are gathered as food for the Queen.
(From "A i Waimea ‘o Kalani," a chant which details Queen Emma's trip to Alaka‘i Swamp on Kaua‘i.)

‘Ōhelo is a plant endemic to Hawai‘i and grows only in the high mountains, at elevations above fifteen hundred meters (four thousand feet). It was a rare treat for our kūpuna just as it is for us. The ‘ōhelo is a small native shrub in the cranberry family known for its vibrantly red berries, although the berries can also be yellow. The berries were sacred to Pele and offerings could be made by throwing fruiting branches into the pit at Kīlauea. (Pukui, Hawaiian Dictionary, 276)




4 cups ‘ōhelo berries (1 quart)

3 cups sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

1 / 3 cup water


Pick over berries, measure, wash, and drain. Put berries in a kettle with water and boil until the berries begin to break. Add sugar and stir until most of the sugar is dissolved. Boil, stirring often. Add lemon juice and boil rapidly until a little of the jam thickens when cooled in a saucer.