Just down the street from our house are three huge Chokecherry Trees. No one seems to know that they are Chokecherries because apart from the birds, we’re the only one who picks them. In fact every year we go out to pick we get several neighbours come over to ask us what we are picking. Maybe this means eventually someone else will beat us to them but I don’t really mind if it means more people are becoming aware of the free food around them.
We were a few days late this year meaning the birds had cleared two of the three trees already.The kids got right in on the picking which made it go really fast. We had a good 6 liters in about half an hour.
Two years ago Travis made wine out of the berries, this year I used it for Jelly.
I ended up making up the recipe as I went as I found only a couple recipes for Chokecherry Jelly specifically online and both of them had ridiculous amounts of sugar in them.
First thing I did was cook the berries to make a juice.
3.5lbs of chokecherries
3 cups of water
Heat water and berries to boiling then simmer for about 15 minutes. Drain juice into a large bowl through a cheesecloth to catch all the berries. Hang the berries in the cheesecloth for a few hours. I gave the cloth a squeeze every time I walked by. I’ve been told this makes for a more cloudy jelly but I was going for flavor not look. Once you have all the juice strained out it’s time to make the jelly.
3.5 cups chokecherry juice
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 package pectin
4 cups white sugar
1 tsp butter
Stir together juices, pectin, sugar, and butter in a medium sized heavy pot. Heat until boil. Boil for one minute. Skim off any foam. Pour into sterilized half pin jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn heat off, remove lid and let jars sit for 5 minutes. Remove jars from canner and leave undisturbed for 24 hours.