Grandma’s Chokecherry Jelly

Canning is a skill that has nearly faded out of reckoning, but it is a useful and satisfying skill to have. And nothing beats homemade jams and jellies! Chokecherries have produced abundantly and early this year, and can be found growing all over the Black Hills. We picked and processed pounds and pounds of berries from our bountiful chokecherry harvest, and turned them into jelly, using Grandma’s recipe (slightly modified), which made it even more fun!IMG_8648_small

Grandma’s Chokecherry Jelly

1 pound of ripe fruit or 4-5 cups of berries (should yield 3 cups juice)

1/2 c. lemon juice

1 package powdered pectin

4 1/2 c. white sugarIMG_8644_small

Juice extraction: Put 1 pound of ripe fruit (4-5 cups of berries) in a large pot and cover with water. Simmer for 15 minutes, crushing the berries as they soften. Don’t crush the pits, since they are toxic. Strain fruit and water through a colander, jelly bag, or cheesecloth, saving the juice and setting the pulp aside. Put pulp in a pot and again add water to cover. Simmer again and strain again. Discard pulp. (For every 4-5 cups of berries, you should get at least 3 cups of juice. If necessary, use fruit pulp and water once more to get to the necessary 3 cups of juice. )IMG_8654_small

Jelly: Add 1/2 cup lemon juice to 3 cups chokecherry juice. Stir in 1 package of powdered pectin. Stir well. Let the juice mixture come to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Once it boils, stir in the 4 1/2 cups of sugar, stirring constantly. Bring to a rolling boil. Be careful, particularly if you have an electric stove! The juice and sugar can boil over fast! For this part of the process, an extra pair of hands is helpful – One pair to add sugar and stir, and another pair with hot pads, ready to take the pot off the stove if it begins to boil up. Let boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly to keep it from scorching.IMG_8664_small

Skim the foam off the top. The skimmings are edible, though not can-able! Put jelly in sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. IMG_8672_smallChokecherry jelly has become my favorite – I’ll be saving a jar back to enter in the county fair in a few weeks!

Laura Elizabeth

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2 thoughts on “Grandma’s Chokecherry Jelly

  1. Thoroughly enjoyed reading your pictures and description of the process of making chokecherry jelly! Especially heart warming to know you and your sisters are learning how to make the delicacy! I’ve canned a lot in my younger years and remember the joy of completing the process of preparing, canning and seeing the jars stored for future use of the family. Blessing to your mother for passing on these learned skills to you girls.

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