In Minnesota, you can find chokecherries growing in the wild. They are tart little berries that have more seed than pulp and grow in clumps like grapes.
When I was a kid, our family would pick chokecherries by the buckets, and Mom and Dad would make chokecherry wine. I can't tell you how the wine was, but you won't find a better jelly or syrup than Chokecherry.
Chokecherries are ready to pick the end of July or early August - a HOT time of the summer. We've gotten smart the last many years - we pick them and clean them -
then freeze them for canning, later, when it's cooler.
This weekend, while the temperture was far below zero and the winds were whipping at 40 to 50 mph, we were canning chokecherry syrup.
first, boiling the berries-
then carefully mashing them to extract the juice and filtering the juice through cloth to remove the sediment.
I tore up an old white cotton sheet to use for filtering the juice and to also throw the discarded seeds and pulp on top.
The rest of the process involves boiling small batches of juice, sugar and pectin to make the syrup, then pouring the syrup into canning jars, and processing them in a boiling water bath.
When we were finished processing 26 cups of berries, we ended up with 9 pints of syrup -
a dye bowl of cotton sheet and one flour sack towel that was doomed -
and, this morning, some nice dyed cotton
Since we won't be back at the lake where we do this for a couple of weeks, I cut the dyeing short. I think the results would have been better if I had been able to leave the fabric in the bowl for awhile. But, I'm happy with the results.
The syrup is outrageous.