My parents recently visited us on their way home from a trip to South Dakota. They were both raised there and both sets of my grandparents as well as many aunts, uncles and cousins live there now. A few relatives sent along things for me! I am a truly lucky girl.
I had never tasted or even seen a chokecherry until I came home to find about 4 gallons of them in my freezer. Thank goodness for the internet! I looked up a recipe for chokecherry jam and one for chokecherry syrup. I figured we might as well give them both a chance as we had no idea what to expect.
I would say that chokecherrys are a bit winey tasting. The juice, jam and syrup have the dry mouth feel that the tannins in a good red wine will leave with you. The cherries have a large pit relative to their size and are a bit messy to work with. Luckily the juice wiped up easily and the jam jelled pretty easily. The juice is a beauiful purply-magenta color and my pictures do not do it justice!
I put my canning collander to good use! The larger pits made getting all the juice and pulp out a bit tricky, but I got enough to make me feel like it was worth my time.
My stations...from the boiling kettle (with the cherries and a bit of water) to the collander to the pan (for the pits and skins) and the big measuring cup (for the juice and pulp). I ended up doing all of this part on day one and then coming back to make the jam and syrup and do the canning on day two. Too much mess, too little time to do it all at once!
This is the juice and a TON of sugar boiling away to make jam. The first batch of jam got really good and sticky, the second stayed a bit looser. I may have just not let it boil long enough as it was a large pot of juice. The syrup is the right consistency for pancakes and we look forward to trying a batch really soon!
I am excited by how frugal this project was. There was a lot of sugar involved, but recently our store ran a promotion for $.99 bags of sugar (4 lb size). I figured I used about a full bag of sugar to make all the syrup and jam. So even with lids and such I spent about $2 total. Of course, I also used some energy, but in the end it was a lot cheaper than buying syrup or jam! And no added colors or chemicals. I told Mike that the syrup looks like the bright colored stuff at IHOP, but it is the real deal!
Wait until you see whatelse my wonderful Aunt Mary sent for us!