After searching for pie cherries and coming up nearly empty (I found about a gallon to pick a bit past their prime), I am positively overwhelmed with chokecherries at the farm. I’ve picked a few gallons at this point, and I haven’t even gotten out the ladder for the fruit at higher elevation.
Yeah, I could say screw it and let the birds have them, but that seems wasteful when there are loads more of them on shrubs in the convoluted downer-tree grove for the fruit-eating bluejays and redheaded woodpeckers and all.
With a bounty like this, I’ve decided I want to be a little more creative–beyond the cordial, jelly, and juice. I’m curious about combining flavors and entertaining new ways to use chokecherries. Surely, others (and more specifically, others with some measure of creativity in the kitchen) have experienced this kind of over-abundance?
According to my so-far searches on the internets–apparently not. Yes, I’ve got a promising wine recipe, and I’ll be picking up equipment for that very soon. Otherwise, the only somewhat “different” recipes for chokecherries involved drying them and pummeling them into flour, which apparently has a pleasing almond flavor (imparted, I suppose, by the cyanide-producing compound in the pits). Not having a flour-making device and also feeling a little sketchy about the whole cyanide-pit thing, I’m just flummoxed by the total lack of interesting recipes for the juice and pulp.
So far, I’ve canned five quarts of juice (plus not quite a sixth living in the fridge), and with today’s picking I attempted a cordial which ended up gelatinous once chilled (I won’t cook the berries and sugar next time) plus a pint and a half of syrup spiked with basil (Meh. OK.). I’ve got plenty of herbs this year, so I might also try sage and maybe rosemary as well. Bay leaf infusion? A few spices from the cupboard might also fall in the pot in further experimentation. It’s hard to go wrong with cinnamon.
I’ll let you know if I come up with anything promising.
3 thoughts on “Chokecherries: A Little Creativity Would Be Appreciated”
Plenty of folks around here will freeze bumper crops. You can decide what to do with them later. In case you’re truly flummoxed. Also, sharing isn’t a bad idea. 🙂
Well, I no longer own a chest freezer nor do I have a place to put on at this point, so I’m doing what I can with canning.
I have however been attempting to share with people (with people I feel comfortable having out to my place)–so far I’ve got one person who has been planning to come out for nearly a week and another who said they wanted some, then simply stopped communicating. Ah, well!
Folks around here also sell them by the buckets to folks in town by using Facebook garage sales. Just ideas. I hear you, though. Ours aren’t ripe yet.