Choke Cherry Jelly

Making the Juice:

Take 5 pounds of choke cherries and place in a pan.  Cover with enough water to sink them all.  A good way to measure is to put your finger into the water and touch the choke cherries.  The water should be no higher than the first joint of your finger.

Bring water to a boil and then turn down the heat and simmer for an hour with the lid on.  About 30 minutes in, take a potato masher and mash the berries a bit.

When done, turn the contents into a large sieve and drain for an hour.

If you have less choke cherries, don’t worry.  Just add water in the same way.  The goal is to get at least 3 cups of juice.

 

Measure the following into a pot:

3 cups of strained juice

6 1/2 cups of sugar (yes, that’s right, 6 1/2 cups).  If you put less in, your jelly will not set.  Sugar binds to the water molecules and the pectin which gives you set and stops spoiling.

Bring to a hard boil and leave at that boil for 2 full minutes.

Empty 2 packages Certo liquid pectin into the pot and bring to another boil.  Take off the heat and let sit for 4-5 minutes.  This makes it easier to skim off the foam that invariably develops.  Pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal.

You can process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes.  Do not do this for any longer or you will ruin your set (jelly is delicate)

Note:  Most recipes say to barely cover the berries in water and then cook only for 15 minutes.  This has given me not enough juice and also a burned taste.  Also, the pectin package and all online recipes I found said to boil the juice/sugar for 1 minute and add pectin.  I live in Calgary, altitude 3300 feet.  I think that makes a difference and the added minute of boiling removes just that much more water to enable you to get a set.

 

Good luck.

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