Chokecherry Jelly and Juice
To prepare the juice:
Wash and stem the choke cherries. I cover them with water until the water is about an inch over them. I bring them to a boil and cook until the berries start to turn lighter in color and start to burst. Then I ladle the juice and berries into a sieve or molly mill (food mill) and separate the juice and pulp from the seeds and skin. Then I take the juice and bring it to a boil and put in into hot clean quart jars. I seal up with new hot flats (placed in boiling water for to warm them up) and rings. You can store them for a short while like this if the lids seal down. To preserve the juice for a long time, I would either hot water bath them for 5 minutes.
To prepare the jelly:
I usually follow the recipe on a box of sure jell pectin which I believe is as follows:
4 c. juice
1 box sure jell pectin
5 ½ c. sugar
¼ c of lemon juice (if the berries are real ripe – dark in color and no red) If they are very ripe they lose the natural pectin and the jelly will not jell very well; therefore, you add the lemon juice to get it to jell. The best berries to pick are when they are turning purple but still have some red left in them
Mix the sure jell with the juice and lemon juice in a large saucepan. Bring it to a hard boil, stirring occasionally. Add the sugar all at once. Bring it back to a full rolling boil (a boil that cannot be stirred down) and boil hard 1 minute. Remove from heat. Skin off any foam. Put the jelly in hot scalded jars. Either seal with paraffin or you can use flats and rings. If you use flats and rings, you can process them in a hot water bath for 5 minutes. (A hot water bath is covering the jars totally with water 1 inch over the jars. Bring to a boil [212 degrees F.] for 5 minutes.)
To prepare syrup:
1 ¼ c. chokecherry juice
1 ¾ c. sugar
Combine juice and sugar in a large kettle. Bring to a full rolling boil (can’t stir down) and boil 1 minute. Remove from heat, skim off foam and put in clean, hot jars. Seal with flats and rings and process in boiling hot water bath (212 degrees F) for 10 minutes. Note: For tarter syrup, add 1 T. lemon juice. For thicker syrup, use 1 ½ c sugar and ¼ c light corn syrup instead of 1 ¾ c sugar.