Nice to see my colander so full of berries! All clean and ready to pick over.
I got all the stems (of course, I found one I missed after I took this photo!) and the ones that were damages or whatever. I filled two 9×13 jelly roll pans with berries when I was done.
They are now in the deep freeze, to be transferred to freezer bags when they are frozen solid. After that, they can wait until we decide how we want to use them this year. 🙂 The freezing will help them release their juices later, too.
So… what shall we make? More chokecherry vinegar? Or try a jam or jelly this 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. 🙂