I do read all my comments and since a couple of you asked about chokecherries… here ya go!
- Prunus virginiana. Also called bitter-berry or Virginia bird berry.
- Found in thickets alongside water or damp areas across the U.S. and Canada.
- While usually shrub sized, it can grow into a tree up to 30′ tall.
- Part of the stone fruit family like cherries and plums. It has one large pit.
- The white blossoms in spring are very fragrant and sweet smelling.
- Leaves can be poisonous to livestock if they eat a lot of them in a short period. This happens rarely.
- Not to be confused with “chokeberries” which is another species, Aronia Melanocarpa.
- Native Americans utilized chokecherries for pemmican, tea, and the wood for arrows, tipi stakes, and many other items.
- The taste is bitter, often referred to as “astringent”, drying the mouth and making you pucker! I love the taste myself, but it is definitely an acquired taste!
- I’ve made chokecherry jelly, chokecherry syrup is divine on pancakes, and lately I’ve made chokecherry cordial – which packs quite the punch!
The cluster nature of chokecherries makes them very easy to harvest by running the stem through two fingers, the cherries just pop off and if you’re lucky, land in your bucket!
The ones in my palm are almost half the size of the ones on my fingers… access to water/rain is crucial to good sized chokecherries.
Add just enough water to cover the chokecherries, and simmer until the fruit has softened and split. I use a potato masher to encourage the release of juice.
Strain the chokecherries and save that precious juice!
It’s impossible for me to not make a mess… but it’s worth it!
Recipes in tomorrow’s post!Find me here!