Chokecherry trees are native to North America and can grow all across the country. You’ve probably driven past chokecherry trees without even realizing it. Chokecherries aren’t a very popular fruit because of their somewhat bitter taste, and small size. Although the fruit is bitter, it makes great syrups or jellies! Start noticing the trees around you and see if you can find any wild chokecherry trees. Chances are, you’ll find one.
Chokecherry trees are bushy and have tiny berries that ripen in the Summer. The chokeberries are bright red, then turn to almost black when they’re ready to be picked. This will be in late August. The little fruits are roughly the size of a pea and are mostly made up of pits. The berries grow in clusters that resemble clusters of grapes. Simply grab a handful of berries and slide them off the tree. They should come right off. Exercise caution when picking chokecherries. The bark, leaves, and pits are poisonous. Be sure that no one ingests any chokecherry pits while you’re harvesting the berries. Since the fruits are so small, swallowing the entire berry with the pit in it is possible. The actual fruit, however, is perfectly safe. Just a little tart!
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Make Chokecherry Juice
Making chokecherry juice is essential for jellies or syrups. You’d think it would be difficult because the berries are so small, but it’s actually pretty easy. Wash all your berries first and get out all the leaves or twigs. Then put all the berries into a big pot and fill it with water until all the berries are covered. Then boil the chokeberries for about 30 minutes. This process creates the chokecherry juice for you! You actually don’t even need to crush the berries to create the juice. After the berries have boiled, strain the berries out and you’ve got your juice! How easy is that?
Making Things with Your Juice
There are many things you can make with your chokecherry juice one you have it. Some of the best things you make are jellies and syrups. The syrups tastes amazing on pancakes, and the jelly goes great on toast! The syrup is so simple. You need to add sugar and almond extract to the juice and boil it to make it a smooth consistency. The almond extract brings out the sweetness in the chokecherries. Jelly is a little more complicated to make. You’ll need to use pectin to thicken the juice into a jelly-like consistency. Add sugar, lemon juice, and pectin to your chokecherry juice over a hot stove and pour it into jars. You’ll have delicious chokecherry jam in no time. Chokecherries also make the most wonderfully colored products that are beautiful to look at. The syrups is a bright magenta color.
Chokecherries easy to pick, and they taste great on a lot of things. Since chokecherries grow wild in a lot parts of North America, you can find them pretty easily if you just take the time to look. It’ll become a yearly tradition for your entire family, and everyone will love it!
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