How to make Chokecherry Jam
1. Talk the summer camp kids into coming out and picking the berries for you.
2. Make a deal with your offspring. Take over one of the chores that they do not like to do if they will pick all the leaves, stems, rocks, and dirt, out of the basket and wash the berries. Don't tell them how mind numbing tedious this job is.
3. Get LOTS of sugar from the store. And a candy thermometer. Do NOT forget the candy thermometer.
4. Make sure the younger generation measures the chokecherries as they are cleaned and put in the big pot. For every 4 cups of berries, add 1 cup of water.
5. Cook on low heat until the berries are very tender and will squash easily with the wooden spoon. This takes awhile.
6. Put the cooked berries through a sieve. Ours is a good one. We don't have to take off all the tiny stems first.
7. After everything has gone through the sieve, measure out all the good stuff and put it back in the pot. The pits and other bits still in the sieve are not used. Maybe the chickens will eat some of it.
8. Add an equal amount of sugar to the pot. This refers to how much of the good stuff is left after getting the pits out. If you started out with 23 cups of chokecherries, you will have about 10 cups of good stuff. To the 10 cups of good stuff, add 10 cups of sugar.
That's right. This is basically a recipe for chokecherry flavored sugar. Or syrup.
9. Cook on a medium high flame, STIRRING CONSTANTLY CONSTANTLY CONSTANTLY, which is, of course, a job for the heirs apparent, until the candy thermometer....
oh yeah... PUT THE CANDY THERMOMETER ON THE SIDE OF THE POT. DON'T LET IT TOUCH THE BOTTOM OF THE PAN...
reads 220 degrees. This is hot. Really hot. Be careful!
Do not....I repeat, do not let it get hotter than this. You will end up with sticky, chokecherry goo.
10. Put into sterilized jars and seal with sterilized jar lids.
11. Process jars to seal them properly for storage
Find lots of friends to give them to. Tell them to eat it right away.
Supposedly it goes well on ice cream.
12, Repeat. If you have five chokecherry bushes, like we do, find lots of friends.
(if it doesn't turn out, it's obviously because the kids did something wrong.)
Next..... taste test.