Chokecherries that grow in abundance in North America. They grow up to 4 inches in height and when fully grown, resemble black cherries to a certain extent. Around the world they are popularly known as bird cherries because birds eat them with delight. The main reason why they are called chokecherries is that they are non edible by humans. You might choke if you consume one of this berry. They have a high acid content and are extremely sour. But due to their popularity chokecherry syrup, jams, and jellies are used for making various types of desserts.
There are both eastern and western varieties of chokecherries which are used to make syrups, jams and jellies. With birds they also attract pests, various type of insects which makes them a total nuisance for farmers and cultivators. It's mandatory that horses stay away from chokecherries. The foliage of this tree is very dangerous for horse and could kill the animal if it ate the leaves. Though chokecherries are generally considered harmful to eat, there have been few edible varieties of chokecherries which have been cultivated and they are used to make syrup and in various other dessert recipes.
How to Make Chokecherry Syrup
During August and September the market is filled with black cherries in dense clusters. These cherries are not black cherries but are chokecherries which can be found out with their uniquely pungent flavor. They are called black cherries as it makes the sales easy. Today we learn how to make a nice batch of homemade chokecherry syrup.
- Making a chokecherry syrup can be expensive but it can last many years. So, its worth the investment. Make sure you buy, big canning jars to store the syrup. Due to its pungent and acidic flavor, you'll need lots of syrup and almond essence.
- After you've got lots of cherries, you wash them in running water and make sure that there no stems, leaves, or branches left.
- Now you have to extract the juice so get a working juice steamer. If you can't find one, borrow from someone in the family. If you don't have a juice steamer, I recommend you boil your cherries and then drain them. It is an effective but slow process.
- Now, starting with the syrup, take 5 cups of juice and add about 4 cups of sugar. If you want to make a good chokecherry syrup, you have to use lots of sugar. Heat the juice on medium flame and keep stirring until it is boiled. This will thicken your syrup and it will get the texture that it needs.
- Turn off the flame and add ½ tsp almond extract. Mix well again. Make sure you remove the foam from the syrup. Take sterilized cans and pour the hot syrup in it. Then tightly close them with lids and store them in a cool and dry place. You can use the syrup after 20 hours of storage.
You can use this delicious syrup in various desserts and some people also try it with pancakes. There are many commercial brands in the market which sell this syrup, it is recommended that you look at the contents before purchasing them.