Hi, I have access to a lot of wild chokecherries. I will probably try to make some jelly since I will be making other types of jam/ jelly this year and might as well do some choke cherry, too.
Any favorite recipes or uses for choke cherries? My Ball book of canning has no chokecherry recipes at all. I don't think sour cherry recipes would necessarily work either, since chokecherries are so much smaller and more astringent.
I also have tons of chokecherries growing around the house... I've made jam two years in a row by cooking them down, then de-seeding them (a truly annoying job), and re-cooking with sugar, then canning. Recipes I've found online have suggested a 1:1 ratio of pulp to sugar, which I never tried. Last year I did 3 cups pulp to 2 cups sugar and it set very well without any other ingredients. But my mother, who was helping me de-seed this year, said last year's was too sweet, so we did 2:1. It turned out really, really syrupy.
Which brings me to my next chokecherry project - chokecherry ice cream. I'm going to make a custard and add the chokecherry syrup and see what happens. I am going to do this tomorrow.
I grew up eating homemade jams and jellies: chokecherry jelly was good, but if the batch didn't set, we would have chokecherry syrup, which is especially good on pancakes or icecream. I continue to make it for my family now. The recipe we use comes from "Original Certo" recipes.
Stem 3 quarts fruit. Add 3 cups water; bring to a boil and simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Extract juice by placing cooked fruit in a jelly bag (I have a bag made from a cotton tea towel, sewn down the sides, that i use each year). The recipes says to twist bag and press to extract the juice, or for clearer jelly, use 11/2 times fruit called for in recipe and let juice drip through with no squeezing. I put the fruit in the bag, tie the bag shut with string and tie it to a cupboard doorhandle and let it drip overnight - by morning you are ready to proceed. The jelly recipe: bring 3 cups prepared juice to a full rolling boil, add 61/2 cups sugar, return to a full boil, add 2 pouches Certo Liquid Fruit Pectin, stirring until mixture returns to a full boil. Boil hard 1 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim if necessary. Pour into jars and seal.
The older generation suggest that if you pick the chokecherries when they are slightly underripe, the berries have more natural pectin, and it is not necessary to add pectin to get the jelly to set - I prefer to add the pectin anyway. Hope this helps - I can't imagine trying to de-seed chokecherries.