August 26, 2011

Chokecherry Chokeberry Jelly

Up until 5 minutes ago I have always thought that these were "chokecherries."
What I was unsure about was the spelling, was it two words, "Choke Cherry," or one, "Chokecherry?" So I googled it.

But what I found out was that although the bush is called a "Chokecherry," the berries are "Chokeberries."
Ooops.

Apparently this is a common mistake, so much so that the people at Kraft, who make MCP pectin and Sure-Jell pectin also call them "Chokecherries."

I don't exactly know how to describe Chokecherry (Chokeberry) Jelly. It's a lovely pink blend of sweet and tart.And it tastes delightfully old fashioned to me.Most of the chokeberries on my chokecherry bushes become ripe in August. I pick the purple ripe ones and also the less ripe greenish ones. I always use Kraft's Chokecherry Jelly recipe to make this jelly. It can be found on their site here. Although the recipe calls for MCP pectin, I have used Sure-Jell, which is also produced by Kraft, without any problems. And since Kraft shares this recipe on their website, I have reprinted it here...MCP CHOKECHERRY JELLY (recipe from Kraft Foods)

What You Need:
3 cups prepared juice (buy about 4 lb. fully ripe chokecherries)
1 cup water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 box MCP Pectin
1/4 tsp. butter or margarine (I skip this and just skim the foam.)
4-1/2 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl

Make It:
Bring boiling-water canner, half full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling.
Crush chokecherries thoroughly, one layer at a time. Place in saucepan. Add water and simmer 15 min. Place 3 layers of damp cheesecloth or a jelly bag in large bowl. Pour prepared fruit into cheesecloth. Tie cheesecloth closed; hang and let drip into bowl until dripping stops. Press gently. Measure exactly 3 cups juice into 6- or 8-qt. saucepot. Add lemon juice.
Stir pectin into juice in saucepot. Add butter to reduce foaming. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar. Return to full boil and boil exactly 2 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.
Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 5 min. Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middles of lids with finger. (If lids spring back, lids are not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)

Altitude Chart:
At altitudes above 1,000 feet, increase processing time as indicated. 1,001 to 3,000 feet - increase processing time by 5 min.; 3,001 to 6,000 feet - increase processing time by 10 min.; 6,001 to 8,000 feet - increase processing time by 15 min.; 8,001 to 10,000 feet - increase processing time by 20 min.

6 comments:

Candy C. said...

Your jelly looks really good and I love the vintage plate!

homegrown countrygirl said...

Thanks, Candy C.!

Bethany said...

Thank you for the cherry/berry clarification! I have been using this recipe as well, but I have been having such a hard time getting the juice out of those chokeberries! I thought I was going to blow a gasket twisting and squeezing the jelly bag yesterday, and I started with more than 4 lbs! I'm only using very ripe juice chokeberries, so I don't know what the problem is; I finally gave up half a cup short and topped it off with cran/grape juice. Am I the only one with stubborn berries?

homegrown countrygirl said...

No, Bethany, you definitely aren't the only one with stubborn chokeberries... I, too, find it quite an exercise to squeeze all of the juice out of them! (But that good jelly is so worth all the trouble!)

Anonymous said...

Please note thar chokecherries and chokeberries are not the same thing. Chokecherries are prunus virginian, chokeberries are aronia. It looks like you were using aronia (chokeberry) based on the pictures.

homegrown countrygirl said...

Anonymous ~ Thank you for clearing that up for me!