Ok, last year late freeze disguised the fact that we had two enormous chokecherry shrubs in backyard. They're full now, I've picked them; now what? I know seeds are poisonous, so how do I get juice/pulp out of them to use the recipes I've run into? They don't say how. thanks!
Location: Northwoods of Minnesota, formerly of Texas
The main thing is to not grind the pits or stones. That will release the toxins. I just cooked mine in a little water until they started busting (like cranberries do) - then ran them through a stand up strainer - mine looks like a big metal cone full of holes and comes with metal wire legs and a wooden plunger to mash stuff though the holes and into a bowl. This strainer will retain the pulp of the fruit and the pits while letting the juice seap through the holes into the bowl. Or you can go "low tech" and just strain your pulp with whatever you have on hand. Once I even used a sifter!
Then just use the juice to make jam or strain through cheesecloth for jelly. Yummmmmmmm. Chokecherry is absolutely the BEST jelly of all!!!
I've been scouring the woods but no chokecherries to be found - yet- and I'm down to my last jar!
__________________ ♥ She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. ♥ Proverbs 31:13
Wind in her hair.....
Would you mind posting your chokecherry jam recipe? I have tried for years to find an acceptable (not so sweet) chokecherry jam recipe. When I was a child, the older lady across the street made chokecherry jam, it tasted just like the fruit off the tree. I have not been able to duplicate it. The recipes that I have access to are simply too sweet! This lady would not have used any sort of "surejel"......she cooked her jam up on her old wood stove.
(I'm sorry for hijacking your thread somewhat, Shawnee)
As I've matured......I've learned that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity
I'm going chokecherry picking this weekend-looks like a bumper crop around here with all of the excess rain we've been getting. Of course, I've got to fight the wild turkeys for them-LOL. Here's the recipe that I use. Some years it turns out great, others I end up with lots of chokecherry syrup. Either way, we LOVE it, so it doesn't really matter much. Besides on pancakes, you should try a couple of spoonfuls of syrup mixed into some club soda-one of the kids' favorite summertime drinks.
To get juice:
Rinse the berries and pick out the leaves,etc. Put berries into a pot and add just enough water so that it's about half way up. Boil for 15 minutes, berries will start to pop. Pour through a food strainer, press lightly.
Bring 3 cups chokecherry juice and 6 1/2 cups sugar to a boil. Stir in one package of liquid pectin. Boil for 1 minute. Skim off foam. Ladle into jars, leaving 1/4" headspace and seal. Hot Water Bath jars for 10 minutes. Makes about 7 eight ounce jars.
This is exactly the way I make chokecherry jelly, too. Sometimes I will mix chokecherry juice with gooseberry juice and THAT also makes an excellent jelly! Once I mixed chokecherry with wild currant juice and that was good, also. I have discovered that by not crushing the chokecherries much at all, just simply boiling the chokecherries until they pop and simmer gently for about 5 min more, and then let the mix steep for several hours or overnight in a cool place, and then straining through several layers of moistened cheesecloth, you get a jelly that is clearer. Otherwise, by mashing too much (even if you gently mash), you get a chokecherry juice that is cloudy and almost milky-opaque. I have tried making syrups with chokecherry juice, but most of the time it jells on me. I had better luck with a 1:1 ratio of juice to sugar, with 1 cup of Karo syrup mixed in, and then boiled the mix for about 20 min on a low simmer. It made a good syrup, which was excellent on ice cream. I processed the pint jars of syrup in a boiling water bath for 10 min. We should have a fair harvest of chokecherries up north here. Chokecherry jelly is indeed the best stuff!!
I just cooked mine in a little water until they started busting (like cranberries do) - then ran them through a stand up strainer - mine looks like a big metal cone full of holes and comes with metal wire legs and a wooden plunger to mash stuff though the holes and into a bowl. This strainer will retain the pulp of the fruit and the pits while letting the juice seap through the holes into the bowl. Or you can go "low tech" and just strain your pulp with whatever you have on hand. Once I even used a sifter!
This is exactly what my mom does (she has chokecherries in Montana, I don't have them here where I live).