Cherry Pie and Chokecherry Jelly

We picked our first real crop of cherries this year, probably a quarter of a bushel, so we have been eating cherries at every opportunity, putting them in cereal and on icecream, and I used the ones with bird bites in them to make a cherry pie.

Yesterday we also picked our chokecherries, the second year now that we have had enough to make them worth picking.  Their sour taste keeps them from being edible fresh (though my youngest son was not at all deterred), but they make great jelly.  I prefer no-pectin recipes, and they are not always easy to find, so I thought that I should post mine:

Just cover the chokecherries with water in a pot, including some unripe ones for flavour and added pectin.  Boil them until they are very soft, then mash them lightly.  If you want your jelly to be clear, strain the pulp through cheesecloth, but do not squeeze or press it.  If you want a more jam-like jelly, press the pulp through a sieve.  Either way, combine the juice with equal amounts of sugar and about a tablespoon of lemon juice per cup of chokecherry juice.  Small batches tend to jell better, so work with amounts of  three to five cups of chokecherry juice at a time.  Bring the batch to a boil, stirring often, until it reaches jell stage.  Pour into canning jars.  Water bath for five to ten minutes.  Let cool.  Check that the jars have sealed.  Store the jars in a cool and dark place.  Eat the jelly often, especially on icecream.

  1. Curtis said:

    Luke, why the aversion to pectin? Is it just, as you have shown here, a time consuming, unnecessary step, or are their other considerations?

  2. Curtis,

    I just prefer not to have to buy one more thing, and plus, it seems like cheating. If something really needs extra pectin, you should be able to mix it with high pectin fruit (crabapples, grapes, citrus rinds) and make it work.

  3. Curtis said:

    Interesting, I was only ever under the impression, from how my grandmother made preserves, that citrus fruit alone contained the necessary binding agents, which I was told was the need for them, to jell the jam; I had no idea many fruits were concentrated with it. What it seems like now that I’ve been more broadly informed is that including things like rendered pith just gives another ingredient in order to cut the jam and get an increased, but illusory yield… is that an accurate general assessment, or am I mistaken?

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