How to Cook Chokecherry Jelly

Overview

Chokecherries are known for their sour taste and poisonous pit, so they are usually left for the birds. However, chokecherries can easily be made into a delicious jelly by adding pectin and enough sugar to balance the tart flavor. According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, canned jelly can be safely stored for up to a year after production. That means you can transform your sour chokecherries into delicious jelly that your family can enjoy year-round, simply by adding sugar and pectin to your chokecherry juice.

Step 1

Extract the juice from your ripe chokecherries. Remove the stems and pits from 2 lbs. of chokecherries, reserving the fruit in a saucepan. Cover the pitted cherries with water; boil for fifteen minutes or until the fruit is soft. Strain the fruit and keep the juice, about 4 cups.

Step 2

Combine 4 cups of chokecherry juice with 4 cups of sugar and ½ package (1 oz.) of powdered pectin. Combine ingredients and boil for two minutes. Remove from the pot from the stove.

Step 3

Add your jelly jars to a pot of boiling water while the juice is boiling. Allow the jars to sit in the hot water for ten minutes to sterilize.

Step 4

Skim any foam off your jelly with a large spoon; pour it into sterile jars. Allow the jelly to cool before putting the tops on your jars to avoid steam buildup inside the sealed containers.

Step 5

Seal tops tightly with airtight rubber rings. Place it in a cool dark location for storage.

Tips and Warnings

  • Remove the chokecherry pits before extracting the juice. Some recipes recommend crushing the whole cherry (pit included) and extracting juice from the crushed fruit. This approach is dangerous, because chokecherry pits contain a cyanide-forming compound which can be lethal in high doses.

Things You'll Need

  • Saucepan
  • 2 lbs. chokecherries
  • Strainer
  • 4 cups sugar
  • ½ package (1 oz.) powdered pectin
  • Jelly jars
  • Large pot
  • Large spoon
  • Airtight rubber rings

References

  • North Dakota State University Extension Service: Questions on Chokecherry
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Using Minnesota's Wild Fruits
  • National Center for Home Food Preservation: Frequently Asked Jam and Jelly Questions
Keywords: cooking with chokecherries, homemade jelly, chokecherry jam

About this Author

After graduating college in December, 2008, Lorraine O'Neil began working full-time as a freelance writer. Since she has been working professionally, O'Neil's articles have been published on sites such as eHow.com, DIY Chatroom, GardenGuides.com and TheDailyPuppy.com. O'Neil holds a Bachelor of Arts in legal studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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