I’ve had successes and failures with these recipes, but… if I’m trying to make chokecherry jelly and I fail… it’s just chokecherry syrup! If all my jelly actually makes jelly… then I’ve been known to microwave a jar and turn it into syrup. Can you tell I like my chokecherry syrup?
Follow all canning instructions from a reliable source, often the insert in a box of pectin has what you need.
Place cherries in a bowl, cover with water, picking out leaves and stems that float to the top. Don’t worry about the small stems on the cherries themselves. Rinse and drain a few times. Put in a large pan, and just cover them with cool water. Turn on heat and cook until softened and cherries crack. A potato masher comes in handy for further extracting juice. Do NOT smash the pit as it, like most pits, it isn’t good for you. Strain the juice from the berries.
3.5 Cups of Chokecherry juice
1 package of pectin
2 – 3 Tablespoons of lemon juice (some recipes call for more)
Bring to a boil.
Add 4.5 Cups of sugar
Bring back to a boil and cook two minutes.
Remove foam if desired. Water bath can according to instructions. At my elevation, I water bath for 10 minutes.
If the jelly doesn’t set, surprise! you’ve just made chokecherry syrup. You can also make it by having equal parts of juice and Karo syrup/or white sugar. It’s a smidge more tart than jelly since the jelly calls for more sugar. Cook down until it thickens a bit. Be careful, it has a tendency to boil over once you’ve left the room because you’re bored waiting for it to thicken… ask me how I know.
Water bath can for 10 minutes.
Fill a quart jar halfway with clean chokecherries. Add one cup of sugar. Fill with vodka. Place in a dark cabinet. Shake it every day. Let sit for at least a month, then strain out the chokecherries. It can be rather potent and tart, so small sips are recommended! Adding 7-up makes a nice sparkling drink.Find me here!