Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Chokecherry Jam Recipe

Chokecherry Jam was a breakfast tradition at our house. It defined Sunday mornings for as long as I could remember. After a few dozen phone calls, I managed to track down this most precious recipe from childhood.

Once I retrieved it, though, I felt kind of foolish. There's nothing to it. Have you ever gone back to a childhood haunt and noticed how everything is smaller than you remembered it?

Well, I guess this recipe is kind of like that. Bigger than life for sentimental reasons and nothing more.

Chokecherries blossom in May and ripen throughout the summer. The time for picking chokecherries is... right.. about... NOW.

Picking your own? Look for big, plump berries, dark purple or black. Toss in some light red and green ones, too. They add extra flavor.

The Legendary O'Fahey Family
CHOKECHERRY JAM RECIPE

Remember to stir, stir, stir. Cherries and sugar can get pretty sticky and may burn to the sides of your pot.
  • Add 1 cup of water to every four cups of cherries.
  • Simmer over low heat until fruit is very tender.
  • Use a large spoon to press the chokecherry pulp through a sieve. (Three cups of pulp make about 3 half pints of jam.)
  • Add an equal amount of sugar to match the amount of chokecherry pulp.
  • Put sugar/chokecherry mixture back on the stove and cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Cook to a temperature of 9° (F) higher than the boiling point of water. *According to Aunt Lillian, this temperature check will deliver a rich flavor and thick consistency.
  • Pour into hot, sterile jam jars to approximately 3/4 full.
  • Seal and process in a boiling water bath for about 15 minutes.
  • Give the jam 24 hours to slowly cool.
* Are you a newbie at making jam? Click here. These guys can fill in the blanks.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

And don't forget to skim and discard ALL the 'floaters'. I remember once picking them in Aunt Shirley's yard; when I broke open some that seemed larger than the others, they were filled with tiny, bright orange worms!

-Blackmoon

Anonymous said...

I gathered what I thought were Choke cherries this weekend but they looked more like the picture on the right, are those choke cherries or roses? They had a sort of berry to them?

Anonymous said...

One final questions?
Can you go roses from the rosebuds? What else can you use them for? I gathered a lot of them.

kathyleen said...

Your blog is so fun. I'm a gardner living in a zone 3. Some days I'd die for a zone 5!

Can this be used as a freezer jam? Fairly new to making jam and have everything for freezer jam, but not the glass jars for regular heat sealed jam.

Kate said...

Hi;
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the kind compliment. I used to live in zone 3. I don't envy you :)

As for the freezer jam, sorry, I'm not sure. I've never had the good fortune of making freezer jam... though I've always wanted to try.

Montana Daysee said...

I am SOOO excited I don't have to make syrup this year! I am going pick all day now that I can make jam!!! Thank you so much!

Kate said...

You're welcome! Let me know how it turns out. :))

Megan said...

Does this jam really require no pectin? Is it really just chokecherries and sugar?

Thanks for posting this!

Kate said...

Hi, Megan;
Sure you could use pectin - we don't because the berry picking is a free for all and we usually end up with lots of un-ripe chokecherries.

The less ripe the berry, the more natural pectin they produce.

Maybe add 2 oz of pectin to this recipe? Your guess is as good as mine! :))

Frances said...

For the person who was wondering what to do with rosehips. You can also make jam out of them, but you need to take out the seeds. (failure to do so results in "itchy bottom syndrome")

Also, I dry and keep rosehips all year for tea. They are incredibly high in vitamin C, so a glass of tea when you're sick really hits the spot.

Shanonamous said...

Hi Kate,
Just wanted to say I have enjoyed your page as well. I am a zone 6 gardener and we have chokecherries around here and I am certinaly going to try your now "famous" jam recipe. I read that they are really full of vitamin c and antioxidents. As for freezer jam, they do that alot here, but it does not keep but a couple three weeks. I would stick with jar canning, it is more indefinite.

Rosey said...

Chokecherries bring back so many good memories for me. We used to make syrup and I get a craving for it every year. The bears really love the chokecherries in my neighborhood.
Thanks for stopping by.
Rosey

Little Susie Home Maker said...

It's that time of year again! And I have had generations of my family making them way back! I know at least to my great grandmother. I live in Colorado. Go chokecherry picking has been a tradition as log as I can remember. My mom and dad have been the big makers for many years, with jams and syrups made mostly. I even remember my dad made wine one year! I have a bunch that we grew on our five acres and they are in season! The birds will be having a field day, but I want to pick enough for a batch of jam or two! Googles Chokecherry jam, and saw yours on blogspot! Your recipe sounds pretty much the same as ours! I am still under a year of blogging. So I am going to follow you. I am high altitude as well!
Blessings,
Susie

Linda said...

When my children were young, I always made jam. I never had choke berries. your blog is full of very useful info.

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine in New Mexico adds wild little green sour apples that grow there to her chokecherry jam. Delicious, the best I've ever had. Unfortunately she doesn't have an actual recipe since she is a little bit and some of that type of cook.

Anonymous said...

Its my first time so worried on what will happen.