Thursday, September 17, 2009
Have you ever picked chokecherries?
well, I have. Summer, Sierra and I picked a bucket of chokecherries over Labor Day. Summer held the bucket. I reached up and pulled down the branches and picked the berries. Sierra's job was just to tell us stories to make us laugh so that we would drop half of the chokecherries we picked. It was a wild tree just off the side of the road in Carbon County (kind of vague-- I can't let my secrets out). People kept driving by on 4 wheelers and asking us what we were doing. Nice. It took us about 3 hours to pick half a bucket of chokecherries. OK. More like 1 hour, but it felt like 3. Chokecherries are about the size of BB's. And they are about 90% seed/pit. So, there is not a lot of fruit. at all.
So, what did I do with my chokecherries?
I washed them and picked out the yucky ones. That left about 1/2 of an ice cream bucket full of fruit. Seriously.
Then I got out my vintage juicer that I acquired this spring. It was still in the box and it had a Grand Central price tag on it. I couldn't read the price. but I remember the good old days when Arctic Circle and Grand Central were the only 2 businesses on that entire block on 1200 South in Orem.
It took about 1 hour to juice the chokecherries. I got 3 cups of juice. Barely.
Then I took the juice and added about 25 lbs. of sugar and some pectin and stirred and stirred and stirred. I also added a little bit of apple/raspberry juice.
In the beginning I thought I might give these to neighbors for Christmas, or bake a loaf of bread and give it to my friends and neighbors for their birthdays. But, after having put so much sweat and blood into these 7 little jars of sugary goodness I feel a little bit like the Little Red Hen. I don't want to share with anyone. I picked every single one of those tiny chokecherries with my own hands. I am going to enjoy every single spoonful of chokecherry jelly all by myself. OK. Not really. I will share. But, I'm still upset that they didn't have a canning competition at the stake Harvest Fair last week. Because I am certain my chokecherry jelly would have one first place.