Author Topic: The best year I have ever seen for Chokecherries [now Chokecherry syrup]  (Read 4229 times)

Offline pikeman_95

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Chokecherry syrup
This has been an unbelievable year for chokecherries. Every tree is loaded. I have picked 15 gallons and have them in the freezer. This going to be kind of a teaching process and believe me this is the best syrup you have ever eaten on Ice-cream. If this is also a good year in your area, it is time to get out and pick a few gallons. I will finish the process as I complete making the syrup. The first step after picking is cleaning. I fill a pan to over flowing cold running water. The good berries will sink and the bad berries and leaves and stems will float over the edge with the overflowing water. I rub the berries together to clean then drain them in a colander and then zip lock bag them and into freezer. Freezing the berries helps break down the berries for juicing. For now it is time to get out there and get some berries picked. By the way they taste like crap just off the tree but trust me they are great when turned into syrup.
Here is the 7 gallons my wife and I picked this morning. My wife is a picking machine.



Most berries are not this dense but this year was unbelievable.



Now 7 gallons heading for the freezer.



More to come when I thaw these out and make the syrup.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2014, 06:23:24 pm by pikeman_95 »

Offline smoke em if you got em

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WOW nice batch. Never heard of chokeberries. Would love to try the syrup tho

Mike
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Offline pikeman_95

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Mike
When we serve it on vanilla ice-cream we find our guest licking the bowl. It is good on pancakes and French toast also. We also make frozen plumb smoothies and add the syrup for a sweetener.
kc

Offline tailfeathers

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One of the Hutterite colonies near here makes chokecherry wine. A guy gave me a bottle of it once for helping him out when his truck had broken down. It was really good, and REALLY strong. The syrup sounds good!
Where there's smoke, there's HAPPINESS!!!

Offline Quarlow

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Oooo that is on my to try list. I always wondered about them. Don't think we get them here in the pacific northwest. Have to see if you can buy it online. Along more Birch syrup. Someone sent me a can of it and it was awesome.
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Offline pikeman_95

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Oooo that is on my to try list. I always wondered about them. Don't think we get them here in the pacific northwest. Have to see if you can buy it online. Along more Birch syrup. Someone sent me a can of it and it was awesome.

I find them on old fence lines and in creek bottoms and along older country roads. I bet you have the bushes around there somewhere. just remember they do  not taste good off the tree but when made into syrup it is a different story.

Offline Quarlow

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I'll have to get a book to make sure I am getting the right berries. I did happen to find a Saskatoon bush on Friday as I was driving down a road I travel all the time. Just happened to look over when I normally would be watching the other way just because I need to be looking that way and I wasn't. There it was in all its glory. I will be harvesting those as I have not seen a Saskatoon bush since I lived in Prince George 30 yrs. ago. Blackberries are in full swing right now and I have 2 lbs. of those already. yum. Blueberries are being harvest here now and they are so cheap to buy its not worth going to pick them myself. I usually have 10 to 20 lbs of them in the freezer. I was wondering if you can do anything with these "Oregon Grapes" we have here. Tons of them wild but not very tasty.
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Offline Quarlow

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Ok if anyone is interested I found this. I will try this one day. The guy who posted this says it has a very intense Blackberry flavor that packs a punch. http://www.madaboutmushrooms.com/mad_about_mushrooms/2012/08/fabulous-oregon-grape-jelly-recipe-information.html.

 Oregon Grape Jelly

•Pick and wash 2 quarts of Oregon grape berries. 
•Place berries in a large pan, covering with water.  Boil 10 minutes, then mash and boil 5 minutes longer. 
•Strain through several layers of cheesecloth to remove the seeds and skins. 
•Measure juice (I extracted about 2 cups of juice from 2 quarts of berries).  Return juice to kettle and boil 10 minutes. 
•Add 3/4 as much sugar as juice (I added 1 1/2 cups sugar).  Stir until sugar is dissolved.  Boil rapidly until liquid sheets from a spoon (I boiled about 10 minutes). 
•Remove from heat, skim at once, and pour into hot, sterilized jars (I filled 2 of the 1/2 pint size jelly jars).  Adjust lids and process 5 minutes in a boiling water canner.

 
« Last Edit: August 10, 2014, 01:48:42 pm by Quarlow »
I like to walk threw life on the path of least resistance. But sometimes the path needs a good kick in the ass.

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Offline pikeman_95

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I  have heard of those making syrup out of Oregon grapes but they have to be rather slow picking. OK here is the rest of the process.

First is add two gallons of  berries to a larger pot and cover them with just enough water to cover the berries. After slow boiling for a little over 30 minutes until the berries start to split.
First the colander that I have found works best is the cone shaped one like this.


this is what they look like when the juice has been extracted.

What you want to do is place the colander in a large bowl and add a couple of cups to the colander and grind it until the berries are very smashed. I found that scooping some of the liquid out of the bowl and pour it back into the colander to extract more flavor from the berries. Now to add the sugar and pectin. Make sure that you measure accurately and don't be cheap with the sugar, use the full amount. It takes 1 1/2 cups of sugar for each cup of pulpy juice. Now stir the juice and sugar and bring to a slow boil. Add the pectin before things come to a boil. Now here is the fun part. The slow boil will attach bubbles to all the pulp in the juice and float it to the surface.



Now while the slow boil is happening start skimming off the foam. Especially near the edges. You will see that the foam is really the pulp coming out of the syrup.



When you no longer get foam off the syrup while it is slowly boiling you will have removed most of the pulp.



When I first put the pulpy juice in the pot it was kind of pink but after the boil it is nice dark purple. Notice how nice it looks after has boiled off the pulp.



So here it is again

boil berries
extract juice
for each cup of juice you add 1 1/2 cups of sugar.
 
1 1/2 package of fruit pectin for each gallon of juice.

You will find that 2 gallons of berries will allow you to extract around 1 gallon and one quart of juice. Now when you add the sugar you will end up with around 2 gallons of finished syrup.

You can either can it in jars. Or like we do is put it in containers and freeze it. Now I guess I need to find a bowl of ice-cream.


Kirby



 
« Last Edit: August 10, 2014, 09:08:44 pm by pikeman_95 »

Offline tskeeter

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Kirby, looks just like when Mom was making chokecherry jelly.  Right down to the chinois strainer with the wood pestle and the foam on the reducing juice
« Last Edit: August 11, 2014, 08:50:58 am by tskeeter »

Offline pikeman_95

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Kirby, looks just like when Mom was making chokecherry jelly.  Right down to the chinois strainer with the wood pestle and the foam on the reducing juice

You are right. I used to make this with my mom. We made jelly and jam out of just about anything we could pick. I still have extra gallons of berries in the fridge. I might have to make a batch of jelly. I just made syrup this time but the jelly sounds good also. It is the same process just more pectin. Did you mom seal the jelly with melted canning wax? I still remember digging that layer of wax off the jelly.

Offline tskeeter

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You bet.  Most of the time you could just push down on one edge of the wax and the seal would break and the wax would tip so you could pull it out.  But, once in a while you'd have to use some kind of utensil to break the wax loose, or in rare cases, break the wax into a couple of pieces.

Offline ragweed

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Boy, I'm jealous!  For me in NE, it was a bad year for chokecherries.  Almost all my "go-to" spots had been 'dozed out when the county widened the roads.   :( :(  I managed just 1 1/2 lbs and three times as many chigger bites!

But....it's been a great year for wild plums.   ;D ;D  So far, 27 lbs. (It take 5 for a batch of my jelly)  I found a thicket on our deer ground and fertilized it.  Worked!  I'll post pics in a separate thread later.

Congrats, Pikeman and enjoy your wealth!

Offline pikeman_95

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Boy, I'm jealous!  For me in NE, it was a bad year for chokecherries.  Almost all my "go-to" spots had been 'dozed out when the county widened the roads.   :( :(  I managed just 1 1/2 lbs and three times as many chigger bites!

But....it's been a great year for wild plums.   ;D ;D  So far, 27 lbs. (It take 5 for a batch of my jelly)  I found a thicket on our deer ground and fertilized it.  Worked!  I'll post pics in a separate thread later.

Congrats, Pikeman and enjoy your wealth!


I wished you were here the trees are just loaded.

Guess what I found ;D ;



And POOF all gone.  ::)



OH dang that was good!!
« Last Edit: August 11, 2014, 09:17:24 pm by pikeman_95 »