The choke cherry can be found growing over a large part of North America, from as far north as the Yukon and the North West Territories and as far south as Virginia, California and New Mexico in the United States. The fruit is very flavorful but astringent. This astringency is what is referred to as the 'choke' of the choke cherry. Native American Indians used dried and ground choke cherry fruit in soups, stews and pemmican. Today the fruit is most commonly used in making jelly, syrup and even wine.
8 cups ripe choke cherries, stemmed and un-pitted
1/2 cup water
1/2 of a 2-ounce box of pectin crystals
4 cups (2 pounds) granulated sugar
- Place the choke cherries in a large saucepan with the water and mash well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Strain mixture through a jelly bag and measure juice.
- Add (about) 4 cups of the strained juice in a saucepan, add the pectin crystals and mix well; bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Stir in the sugar and boil hard for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
- Skim any foam from the surface and pour into hot sterilized jars. Store in refrigerator.
Makes about 3 pints.