Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Lower Sugar Chokecherry Jam Recipe

Last weekend I made chokecherry jam and jelly. 
I don't ever remember the chokecherries being ready this early! This has been such a strange year.

Making chokecherry jams, jellies, syrup, and wine is a tradition of sorts around here. It's been done for as long as there's been people here I suppose. Everyone's grandmother had the best chokecherry jelly recipe. 

If Ellie and Fiona had their way, they'd have kept them all to themselves!
I have fond memories of picking chokecherries by the bucketsful, of the delicious smells in the kitchen, and the ping of the jar lids as they sealed. My mom used to make chokecherry/crabapple jelly. Ah, memories...

Not many people still carry on the tradition around here, but me...well, I do.

Being that we eat paleo we don't eat as much jam and jelly as we used to, but I still like to make my own. Plus, I'm convinced most things that grow wild are better for us. In fact:

100 g of raw, pitted chokecherries contains 379 mg of potassium, 67 mg of phosphorus, 60 mg of calcium and 27 mg of magnesium, along with lesser amounts of sodium, iron, zinc, copper and manganese. That same 100 g also has 168 IU of vitamin A, 347 mcg of lutein, 90 mcg of beta-carotene, 21.1 mcg of vitamin K and 5.5 mg of vitamin C. Chokecherries also contain a bit of vitamin E and the B vitamins thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid. 
source: Nutritional Value for Chokecherries 

Lower Sugar Chokecherry Jam
8 cups chokecherries washed and stems removed
3 cups water
1 and 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
1 package Sure-Jell for less or no sugar (pink box)
Cook chokecherries and water in a large pot over low to medium heat until very soft. Stir as needed.
Strain mixture through a cheese cloth or colander to get pits out. I use a colander and potato masher to get as much of the fruit as possible without the pits.
Return mixture to stove over medium to medium-high heat. 
Mix together 1/4 cup sugar and the Sure-Jell. Add to the chokecherry mixture. Bring just to a boil, stirring constantly. Stir in remaining 1 cup of sugar until dissolved. Let boil for 1 minute stirring constantly.
Pour directly into hot jars and water bath can. I usually process in a water bath for 15 minutes.
Makes 2 pint jars of jam.
I use much less sugar than traditional recipes; I also use organic real cane sugar. Still, I wouldn't call this a paleo recipe, but it works for us. Those used to much sweeter recipes (many would call for double this much sugar) may not like this one, but I love how it's tangier and tastes more like chokecherries than traditional recipes. Yum.

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