This morning, I grabbed a bucket and checked out the chokecherry trees.
After my last visit with them, I thought I might be too late for the one tree; either they would be over ripe, or the birds would have got them by now.
Happily, there were plenty of perfectly ripe (very dusty!) berries!
I was even able to pull branches down and get lots from the top.
This is how much I got, from just the one tree – minus the many that went flying or rolling out of my hands onto the ground! 😀
Which is quite noticeably better than last year.
That was all what I was able to pick from both trees near the road, last year.
This year, that second tree is not doing as well.
There were very few berries, they were really small, and not consistently ripening.
I left this tree alone.
Then I went for the tree closer to the house. The berries there were much plumper, but the berries were also mostly out of reach. The lower branches don’t get anywhere near as much light, so there were fewer berries and they were redder. My daughter was able to come out and help by pulling the upper branches down so I could reach to pick them.
Check them out!
While there were a fewer berries, they had almost as much volume as the berries from the other tree.
Yes, they are also a lot more red and not as ripe. This is okay, as the less ripe berries have more natural pectin.
As I write this, the chokecherries are sitting in cold water to get rid of any critters that might have come along for the ride, and get the bulk of the dust from the gravel road off. Later, I will give them a thorough wash in cold water, then pick them over to get rid of stems and any messed up berries.
Last year, we made chokecherry vinegar, to use mostly as a drink mix, with our berries. I have not yet decided if we will do the same thing this year. I’ll go through some ideas with my daughters later. I rather like the idea of making a jelly, but that vinegar was really good!
At the very least, we’ll set some aside to freeze and use to make chokecherry mead at some point. 🙂