How to have a Public Fruit Jam

a recipe



By David Allen Burns and Austin Young / Fallen Fruit

The best way to make jam and share with others is when  you go with family and friends and pick the fruit from public spaces. 

Go by foot and Take a friend, someone from your family, and maybe a neighbor. 

Only take what you need to make a batch of jam  (about 5-6 cups of cut fruit is about 12-14 oranges or 16-20 plums). 

As you walk your city mark locations of fruit trees in a notebook or on the

Maybe the fruit tree is in someone’s yard but the branches and fruit are hanging over the sidewalk. 

Also note  what time of year they are ripe. 

When you see someone on your way, take time and Say hi and introduce yourself to people you pass. 

If you see unpicked fruit on a tree that is inside a yard- knock on the door and ask if you can pick some: offer to bring them a jar of jam in return.  

Make this a yearly ritual.  This is definitely more fun with children, friends, and family. 

Sterilize 6 – 8 ounce glass jars using a dishwasher on high-heat setting

Or, boil them on the stove in a pot of water for 3-5 minutes to sterilize the jars. 

Wash the fruit and make sure to remove tough skin, pits, blemishes, the pith 

(white parts of citrus fruit tastes bitter when cooked). 

Cut the fruit into small pieces – this will help with the cooking process. 

Cut enough fruit to fill about 5 cups. Put the fruit in a large cooking pot Add ¼ cup of pectin

 (or one packet from the store).

Add a small amount of liquid water or juice from the fruit to the pot  to help ensure the fruit does not burn on the bottom.

Stir the fruit to make sure the heat is evenly dispersed.

Make sure you watch the jam the entire time as you ring the fruit to a good boil.  

Pour in the same amount of sugar as the fruit – it is a 1:1 ratio.  

(if using low sugar pectin follow directions on the package). 

Keep stirring and bring it to a rolling boil again.

It will transform quickly from fruit sauce to fruit jam. 

Remove from heat and use a jam jar funnel (or carefully) ladle your pubic fruit jam into the 6 glass jars.

Put the lids on tight and quickly turn them upside down to help heat seal the jars. Let them cool.

Keep some for your family and share  with others!

Plant a fruit tree in front of your house if you can- next to the sidewalk so that it will grow over the sidewalk.

Put a sign on the tree that reads:  “This fruit is for sharing. 

When it’s ripe, try one and leave the rest. Plant, map and share your fruit on”


Cut lemons and Figs and bring to a boil 

Add the fresh lavender last- but just a small amount when you are filling the jar.


Cut ripe plums (do not use under-ripe fruits) into small pieces add the juices or about ¼ cup of water or lemon juice to keep the fruit from sticking to the bottom of the pot to keep from burning. Stir continually to prevent burning. Add sugar to taste. Add fresh lemon to make the flavor exciting.  NOTE: Plums naturally have a high amount of pectic and natural sugars it is very common to make plum jam without additional ingredients.


16-20  good sized prickly pears. 

The fruit, which tastes a bit like melon or strawberries, is also made into syrup. .

Removing Thorns:  Carefully cut the ends from the fruit to create a flat top and flat bottom. Stand the fruit upright so that the most stable end is on the cutting board and with a paring knife cut down the sides of the fruit to remove the skin and thorns.  Chop the rest of the fruit into quarters and then a fine chop to add to the pot.  Note: the red tunas prickly pears will stain your skin — wear gloves!