Making Chokecherry Jam

I’ve never written a blog before but I like the idea for the purpose of sharing information to help others along the way. I hope you find this useful and maybe even save you a little time. Enjoy!

My husband and I have lived in our house for over 20-years & the chokecherry bushes that surround our home have only been a frustration to me. They seem to grow pretty much anywhere they start and they have tended to start in places that I have never appreciated. Until this year that is…

For some  time now, I have found great delight following a charming young woman, Cathy Holman of Prairie Wife in Heels, and has become someone whose work I have enjoyed very much over the years. She recently shared that she was making chokecherry jelly in which sparked my desire to do the same. After not appreciating these tiny little berries and allowing the birds to feast on them throughout the years I decided it was time to feast ourselves.  

The chokecherry tree in our backyard

My husband and I have had the privilege this summer to host one of our dear friends who we’ve known for a good part of the last 20-years, a Franciscan friar of the Renewal, Fr. Terry Messer. Father Terry has been with the Friars of Renewal for approximately 26 years and has been a big part of the youth retreats we have hosted here in Wyoming the past 20 years and has been a wonderfully large influence on our family as well. Currently, Father Terry lives in Paterson, NJ where he found himself needing a knee replacement and knew it would be impossible to have an elective surgery anytime soon in New York during these times of the COVID virus. We offered him come and have surgery here and that is how he came to stay with us this summer. Father Terry enjoys being busy so I suggested he might pick the berries while I worked on preparing the kitchen for the canning process. He quickly took the task on and before I knew it I had quite the bundle of chokecherries. I couldn’t believe their richness in color and how truly beautiful these little gifts from God were.

I began my search for a low-sugar or no-sugar recipe for chokecherry jelly as I have tried to do my best to cut as much sugar out of our diet as possible. My go-to person for healthy living options is another beautiful talented young woman by the name of Jill with The Prairie Homestead whom I also follow on social media. Jill lives the epitome of a healthy lifestyle and I learn so much from her through her gardening & kitchen techniques and healthy living options. I quickly searched Jill’s website and found a great chokecherry jelly recipe using honey and even a “how too” video. You can find both here. Her recipe included honey instead of sugar and a special type of pectin called Pomona’s Pectin (photo below). 

As you will see in Jill’s recipe it also calls for Calcium Water. Without opening the box of Pomona’s pectin, which I found at Natural Grocers, I was a bit confused even though Jill said the calcium water was included in the box. The box does include the ability to make the calcium water as there are two separate pouches in the box. One is the pectin and one is the calcium that you just add water to make the calcium water. If you plan to use this recipe it is very important to use this pectin as it doesn’t require sugar to allow the jelly to gel. Another tip I learned throughout the process is that if you have a juicer you can use that instead of boiling the berries down. I actually just followed Jill’s video and enjoyed the boiling process. Call me old fashioned but it was really fun to watch and enjoy the progression that occurs using this method.

 

I hope these few tips will help you if you choose to make chokecherry jelly one day. Drop me a note if you have questions or tips as well.

 

May you enjoy God’s creation one little moment at a time. With Love and faith,

 

Gerise

 

Gerise Vignaroli

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