Chokecherries are abundant in the wild and in people's gardens but eating them fresh is never very appealing. What can you do with them???
After cooking, chokecherries have a delicious flavor that should not be missed.
This year we have made both Chokecherry juice and chokecherry syrup (sometimes called supsil). Both are very easy to make and can be canned or frozen. Chokecherry syrup is great on pancakes, waffles or to dip your bread in.
When making either syrup or juice you want to first heat the chokecherries and isolate the juice. This can be done by boiling in a pot and straining out the juice or by using a juice steamer such as this:
We actually borrowed this steamer from my in-laws but it can also be purchased at Lee Valley in Winnipeg. It is a little pricy but it could be bought by a number of families and then shared.
You put water in the bottom and then heat the steamer on the stove. The water evaporates up and condenses down picking up the flavor from the berries on top. The juice collects in the middle portion and this can be easily collected as it runs down the hose into another pot.
We have used the steamer to make apple juice, nanking cherry juice and grape juice as well.
4 L of chokecherry Juice (14 lbs chokecherries)
2 cups sugar
Put chokecherries in a huge pot and cover with water. Boil for 1 h until the skins split and the juices are released. Strain the juice to remove the skins and seeds. Or heat chokecherries in a steamer and collect the juice.
Put the juice in a large pot and add the sugar, heat to boiling and make sure all of the sugar is dissolved. Taste and add more sugar if necessary. Pour into hot jars, seal with hot lids and water bath for 10 minutes. Let sit for 24 hours and then check lids for seals. Store at room temperature for up to a year.
Before drinking dilute 1:1, refrigerate and enjoy!
Isolate chokecherry juice as stated above.
10 cups chokecherry juice
10 cups sugar (ratio of sugar to juice is 1:1 for syrup)
(Put some small plates into the freezer to check syrup thickness.)
Put chokecherry juice and sugar in a large pot and heat to boiling. Make sure the sugar is dissolved and then simmer until a thick syrup is reached. To test the thickness of the syrup place a tsp of syrup onto a cold plate and wait for the syrup to cool. Check to see if the syrup is as thick as you would like. If the syrup is thick enough, proceed with canning, if not boil for a few more minutes and then test again. Once syrup is thick enough, ladle into hot jars and seal with hot lids. Water bath for 10 minutes and then let sit for 24 hours. Check for seal and store at room temperature for up to 1 year.