One of the greatest joys of summer is fresh fruit! Especially when it is freshly picked! We harvested 4 lbs of chokecherries off the bushes on the hillside, and we still have plenty more to gather!

This “forgotten fruit” does not taste very good right off the tree, but it makes delicious vinegar, syrup and jelly very similar in flavor to that of black cherry. These preparations are especially handy for making many other succulent recipes, including desserts, beverages, marinades for meats, etc …

It is very simple to make chokecherry syrup! Start with clean chokecherries, add enough water to cover plus an inch on top of that. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Lightly mash the berries without breaking the seeds & let them sit, covered, in the water, until thoroughly cooled (a few hours). Strain berries through a mesh cloth, squeezing out all the juice. Add sugar to juice (1:1 or at least 1:2 sugar to berry juice) and simmer, stirring occasionally, until syrup coats back of a spoon. If you want jelly, add pectin. Let cool. Bottle in glass, refrigerate for longest shelf life.

To make chokecherry vinegar simply place 3 parts chokecherries in 1 part vinegar and 1 part water, let sit for several days, shaking daily, strain when ready and bottle in glass.

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