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The other day my beautiful mother-in-law messaged me to see if I wanted any of her chokecherries. Of course! Now what do I use them for that my kids would actually eat? How about syrup?! The mulberry syrup went over well, and was now gone, may as well try it. Recipe at the bottom.
Turns out the frost killed most of the chokecherry blossoms, so there wasn’t much, but there was enough for me to experiment with. Ivalee, James and I set out one afternoon to go pick what was there. She was actually all over the picking until the easy low ones were gone, then climbing the fence was way more fun. We did manage to get an ice cream bucket full. Which was around 8 cups. They then sat on the counter overnight until I could deal with them in the morning.
The next morning, I was in a hurry, so I dumped the bucket into the pot and added the water. No, I didn’t wash them, or sort the leaves out first. I stirred the berries around a bit and like magic the leaves and steams floated to the top! I scooped them out and let the cooking begin! The recipe I was following said to strain the juice off and and reboil the seeds and pulp to get more juice. I did not have that kind of time. But I got to thinking about my favorite red juice. It is actually a puree, so you receive the benefits from the entire berry. Why not with chokecherries?
After straining as much juice as I could through the cheese cloth (and spilling some all over the stove, the lighter on my gas stove still hasn’t recovered), I dumped the pulp and pits into the blender. Looking back, I should have done half at a time. The full amount was a little much for my blender. Once everything was blended smooth, I added it back to the juice. Heated it back up and added the sugar, orange and lemon. You can use real orange and/or lemon juice, but I didn't have any, so I used the oils I did have. Let everything cook and then pour into jars and process! I ended up with 7 pints of deliciousness. You definitely need to shake before using, but it tastes amazing!
Equal parts chokecherries, water, sugar (example: 4 c chokecherries, 4 c water, 4 c sugar)
1-2 drops Orange essential oil (to taste)
1-2 drops Lemon essential oil (to taste)
Add chokecherries and water into a pan. Bring to boil, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes
Strain juice through cheesecloth and squeeze as much out as you can.
Blend up pulp and pits in blender
Re-strain through cheesecloth
Add sugar and orange and lemon
Stir occasionally over medium heat for 20-30 min
Pour into hot sterilized jars and process for 10 minutes
Shake before use and enjoy!
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