Friday, February 3, 2012

Chokecherry Jelly---A Taste of Summer in the Winter!

So there are a few things little pumpkin loves to eat-peaches and crackers-as I've already pointed out, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. This morning she wanted peanut butter and jelly, so Thoughtful Son made her one with the beautiful chokecherry jelly we made in August.

We drove 2-3 hours up to Cheyenne where a nice couple have dozens and dozens of bushes around their yard they use as a windbreak. The kids and I picked chokecherries for about 2.5 hours and ended up with about 6 gallons. Chokecherries are quite tart and have a distinct flavor. Little Pumpkin even liked them off the bush, the older kids didn't care for them.

So we got home and rinsed and removed any stems, then cooked them in a pot with a touch of water-making sure they didn't burn. They have pits inside each of them and knew it was going to be hard to get them out.

I tried several different food strainers-a hand cranked food mill---the seeds kept messing it up, a food press with wooden pestle, regular strainer....not too successful. I finally asked my mom if I could borrow her wine press, and that was faster. I also found small batches through a tea towel with hand squeezing worked well too.

Added my sugar and ended up making 8 pints and 13 jelly jars-did a mixture of jelly and syrup. Was a lot of work, but NOTHING beats home made jelly. Tastes like summer!

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