Monday, August 25, 2014

Edible windbreak--chokecherry thicket for juices, jellies and jams

Bob Henrickson
        Chokecherry, Prunus virginiana, is a durable large shrub forms dense thickets, making it useful for a quick screen. Chokecherry often gets overlooked as a landscape plant because of its suckering habit but it’s well-behaved in shady conditions or in confined beds. The fragrant, pendulous flowers are beautiful in early spring, followed by showy red fruit clusters that change to black when ripe. In earlier times, the cherries were pounded to a pulp, pits and all, shaped into small cakes and laid out to dry in the sun. They make one of the most delicious jellies in the world and prepared chokecherry juice can be used for syrups, jellies or mixed with yogurt, honey and gelatin for a delicious mold dessert.

        Kay Young has some wonderful recipes in her book Wild Seasons. Chokecherry Fizz is one of my favorites. It’s a mix of 3-4 tablespoons chokecherry syrup, 3/4 c. tonic water or ginger ale, a squeeze of orange or lime juice and ice.

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