Monday, August 24, 2009

How to make Chokecherry Jelly

As I live in the northwest I have access to many wild fruits to make jelly with.
You find most chokecherry bushs along the banks of streams.
Chokecherries grow in clusters,so all you have to do is strip them off the limb.
The clusters are from 4 to 20 chokecherries on a limb.
Living by the Clark Fork River in Montana has it's rewards from fishing to wild berries and wild life viewing.

But today I will concentrate on making wild chokecherry jelly.

A wild chokeherry often called the black cherry is about the size of a pea when ripe.It starts out as a cluster of 20 to 30 berries on a stem,and is white in color.As it matures the cherry turns red and when ripe in later part of August,it is a purple or black color.

They grow on a bush that grows to ten feet tall and up to ten feet in diameter.They yield up to three gallons of chokecherrys.

The way I pick them is cut the stem off and bring the whole cluster home this way.

When you eat a chokecherry you will find that it has a seed almost as big as the fruit part,so you would have to eat a bunch of them to gain anything nutritious.Also if you eat one that isn't ripe it will leave a dry bitter taste in your mouth that will make you thirsty

.This is why they are called chokecherries.

Range of Chokecherry
I have found chokecherry bushs in the high mountains of Idaho,Oregon and Montana.

It grows wild in many other states and canada.

Mostly found along streams and river banks.

The Indians picked them as part of their staples for the winter months,so it has been around for eons.

While picking berries one needs to keep an eye open for bear,since they like fruit also.

Instructions for jelly making.
Clean berries off stems and place in large pot.

Add 1/4 cup of water to 1 pound of fruit.

Cook the fruit for 10 to 20 minutes or until soft.

Now pour the mixture into a suspended jelly bag and let the juice drip.

Do not squeeze the bag or you will get cloudy jelly.

You can refrigerate or freeze the juice and use anytime.

You can use the short boil method when using fruit pectin.

Bring the fruit juice to a boil,add lemon juice if called for and pectin.

Bring to boil again.

Never add sugar before you add the pectin or the fruit will not jell.

Add the requird amount of sugar and bring back to a boil that cannot be stirre down.

Boil one minute more.

Remove from heat and skim foam off top.

Pour into hot jars and seal.

3 1/4 cups chokecherry juice

4 1/2 cups sugar

2 oz package fruit pectin

Mix chokecherry juice and pectin in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil.

Add sugar.

Boil one minute, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat.

Skim off foam.

Pour into sterilized jars.

Leave 1/2 inch headspace.

Clean jar rim.


Process 5 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Now that was easy.

Yield: 7 -1/2 pint jars

Great on pancakes,waffles or ice cream..